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Quick Hits: Oklahoma 51, Oklahoma State 48

By Matt Hinton | Blogger


Brennan Clay scores the winning TD for Oklahoma in OT, on the Sooners' longest run of the game. (US Presswire)

OKLAHOMA WON: The Sooners fell behind early, rallied from an 11-point deficit in the second half and finally pulled out a wild overtime win that saved their Big 12 and BCS ambitions for the second week in a row. Like last week's dramatic, 50-49 win at West Virginia, Oklahoma racked up well over 600 yards of total offense but needed a late touchdown in the final minute of regulation to escape the upset in a game it never led prior to the game-winning score.

WHY OKLAHOMA WON. As usual, the Sooners put most of the burden on the right arm of senior quarterback Landry Jones, but this was an usually large burden even by Oklahoma standards: A week after setting a school record with 554 yards and six touchdowns passing in Morgantown, Jones put the ball in the air a staggering 71 times against Oklahoma State, easily smashing a school record en route to 500 yards and three scores. Three different OU wideouts, Jalen Saunders, Justin Brown and Kenny Stills, all went over 100 yards apiece, despite averaging a relatively pedestrian 11.4 per catch.

Although the Cowboys slightly outgained the Sooners on a per-play basis, Oklahoma dominated the box score by dominating time of possession: As a team, OU finished with 618 yards on 103 plays, cracking the 600-yard mark for the second consecutive game and the fourth time this year. Still, the biggest play of the game may have come on special teams, courtesy of an 81-yard punt return by Saunders that tied the game at 38 early in the fourth quarter.

WHEN OKLAHOMA WON. Oklahoma State answered Saunders' return with a 77-yard touchdown drive of its own, capped by a two-yard run by quarterback J.W. Walsh that put OSU back in front, 45-38, with more than 10 minutes remaining. A few minutes later, still trailing by seven with 6:18 to play, the Sooners took over at their 14-yard line and proceeded to march 86 yards in 16 plays, milking more than six minutes off the clock in the process. Facing 4th-and-1 at the OSU four, Oklahoma turned to its short-yardage mainstay, Blake "Belldozer" Bell, who powered across the line for the tying touchdown with the clock showing just four seconds.

In overtime, the Cowboys managed to earn a first down on their first series but were forced to kick a field goal after stalling to move ahead 48-45. From there, the Sooners needed just two plays to punch in the winning touchdown, on an 18-yard run by Brennan Clay– their longest carry of the game.

WHAT OKLAHOMA WON. A rivalry win is always sweet, especially one snatched from the jaws of defeat.

More tangibly, at 9-2, the Sooners are virtually certain to move into the top ten in Sunday's BCS standings, and equally certain to land in a BCS bowl if they finish off the regular season with a win next week at TCU. The only question is whether the invitation will come as an at-large bid or an automatic one: If Texas manages to topple Kansas State from first place next week in Manhattan, Oklahoma can claim its eighth Big 12 championship in Bob Stoops' 14-year tenure as head coach. Either way, the Sooners have put themselves in position to reserve a big-money slot with a win in Fort Worth.

WHAT OKLAHOMA STATE LOST. Close as they came today, the defending conference champs are officially eliminated from Big 12 and BCS calculations (and likely bounced from the polls) in especially deflating fashion. The best the Cowboys can do from here is the Cotton Bowl, a highly probable destination if they take care of Baylor in the finale – just as long as Oklahoma or Kansas State doesn't commandeer the invitation by getting knocked out a BCS game.

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