By Jason Elmquist
NORMAN, Okla. —
In the first-ever overtime game in the Bedlam series, Oklahoma State trailed just one time. The problem is, it came at the end of the game.
The Cowboys left Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium with a 51-48 loss on a night they could have dashed Oklahoma’s Big 12 Conference championship hopes and made a big surge for a BCS bowl bid.
“I think everyone can agree that it was one heck of a game, but I’m disappointed that we came up on the short end,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “I’m very proud of our team, for the way they competed. (OU) just had the last play.”
Oklahoma State (7-4, 5-3 in Big 12) got the usual production from its offense with junior quarterback Clint Chelf making his first career road start. OSU had 490 yards of offense — including 201 on the ground, with Chelf running 12 times for 63 yards and Joseph Randle getting 113 yards on 21 carries.
The problem for the Pokes was the defense, which had only given up 50-plus points once prior to Bedlam, was lit up by OU senior quarterback Landry Jones.
Jones went 46-of-71 for 500 yards passing with three touchdowns and an interception. And when it mattered most, he guided the Sooners on a 17-play, 86-yard touchdown drive — that consumed more than six minutes — to force overtime. OU converted on three third downs, as well as getting the game-tying score on a fourth-and-1 play from the 4-yard line.
“One stop could have won it,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said. “... We just let them convert. Obviously you can’t do that. We pulled out all the stops and tried everything we had in the playbook.”
Oklahoma State’s defense was able to get some pressure on Jones early in the game, including a sack and an interception by Lyndell Johnson on a forced pass due to pressure. However, OU was able to score on all but three of its final eight drives of the second half and overtime.
“They started killing us at the end of the first half with the quick-game stuff, so we tried to mix it up and drop back into some zone coverage and see if Landry could still pick us apart,” Johnson said. “Obviously he went out there and made some throws.”
After hopping out to a quick lead, Oklahoma State had a drive end in an all too familiar fashion on the first drive of the second quarter — a would-be reception deflected by an OSU receiver and intercepted by the defense.
The Pokes had gotten the ball inside OU’s 30-yard line at the time of the turnover, and were looking to build on their 17-10 lead. Aided by several OSU penalties, the Sooners evened the score at 17 with a 81-yard touchdown drive just before halftime to reclaim the momentum.
Using some trickeration — a huge, one-handed catch by Josh Stewart on a third-down play — the Cowboys marched down the field to reclaim the lead with 1:23 left in the half. The drive was capped on a 4-yard touchdown run by Randle — who also had a 34-yard pass to Chelf to get inside the red zone.
Oklahoma was able to even the score up before halftime with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that took the Sooners just more than a minute. Jones found Kenny Stills in the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown — thanks to OSU cornerback Justin Gilbert missing a shot of at least deflecting the pass.
The Cowboys reclaimed the momentum out of the halftime break when Chelf found Stewart wide open down the middle of the field on the first play of the half. Stewart outran the secondary for a 75-yard touchdown to take the 31-24 lead.
While the OSU offense was able to reply after OU scores, it was never able to build on the momentum. The Cowboys didn’t have back-to-back scoring drives in the final three quarters — having to punt four times in the second half, while only scoring three times.
“You know there are going to be ups and downs throughout the game,” Chelf said. “We were prepared for that. We tried to just answer every time that they did something. They just made one more play than us.”
After rushing for 67 yards and throwing for 104 in the opening half, Chelf, a native of Enid, was slowed to 14 yards rushing and 149 yards passing to finish with 316 yards of total offense in his first start in a Bedlam game.
“I thought he played well,” Gundy said. “... I thought he handled the situation to the best of his abilities. He missed a pass there late where we were trying to keep the drive alive. He threw the ball down low, but other than that, I thought he played well.”
In OSU’s overtime possession, Chelf went 2-for-4 for 13 yards, but failed to connect with Blake Jackson on a third-and-6 play from the 9-yard line — forcing the Pokes to settle for a 26-yard Quinn Sharp field goal. That opened the door for the Sooners, who ran the ball on two consecutive plays to get an 18-yard TD run for the victory.
While Bedlam is lost — along with any hopes for a BCS bowl berth — Oklahoma State still has one more game to build its bowl resume. The Pokes will travel to Waco, Texas, to face a surging Baylor team.
“We want to get back on the field and get this sour taste out of our mouth,” Randle said. “It’s going to be hard thinking about this one tonight, thinking about things we could have done differently.”