Sooners Subdue Cowboys, 61-41
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma got all the bounces it needed to get past Oklahoma State in the highest-scoring Bedlam rivalry game ever. But did the Sooners do enough to bounce over Texas and into the Big 12 championship game?
That's for the voters and computers to decide. The third-ranked Sooners took care of their business on the field.
Sam Bradford threw for 370 yards and four touchdowns, cashed in on a 1-yard touchdown plunge after setting it up with an end-over-end flip, and Oklahoma made a case for a BCS bump with a 61-41 win Saturday night against No. 11 Oklahoma State.
On the line was a shot at the Big 12 title next Saturday against Missouri, and also the edge in the national championship race. The Big 12 South will now be decided among Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech in a three-way tie broken by the BCS standings to be released Sunday.
The team that comes out on top will likely be a victory away from going to the BCS championship game in Miami in January.
"I think we have a really good chance," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "You look at what we've done the last two weeks. We've played the No. 2 team in the country and won by 44. We just played the (No. 11) team in the country in their own place, where no one else has beat them, and won by 20.
"Usually it's what you're doing at the end of the year, and we have finished the year really pretty strong."
Texas hopes the pollsters have a longer memory than that, specifically going back to the Longhorns' 45-35 win against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in October.
A group of Texas fans pulled out all the stops to try to keep the Longhorns in the coveted No. 2 spot in the BCS standings, handing out thousands of signs printed with that score for their game Thursday against Texas A&M.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown was even pleading his case in a telephone interview with television announcers while Oklahoma was making its case on the field.
Brown suggested that the Southeastern Conference's tiebreaker was better than the Big 12's because it eliminates the lowest rated team in a three-team deadlock and lets head-to-head decide the winner between the top two.
Of course, that would benefit Texas. But that's not the way his conference breaks its ties.
The Sooners (11-1, 7-1 Big 12) did the best they could to make up a minuscule eight-thousandths of a point in the BCS standings by putting up as many as they could on the scoreboard.
The problem was Oklahoma State (9-3, 5-3) was able to match them strike-for-strike as both teams scored on six straight possessions beginning at the start of the second quarter. Eventually the nation's highest-scoring offense was just too much.
And the biggest of the bounces went the Sooners' way, too. Tight end Jermaine Gresham scored a 73-yard touchdown on a third-down pass that was intended for Manuel Johnson and deflected into the air over three Cowboys defenders and into his arms 10 yards downfield. He was able to outrun the rest of the defenders the final 50 yards to put Oklahoma up 30-19.
Oklahoma's next touchdown came when Stoops decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1, after Bradford somersaulted on his dive for the pylon and came up a yard short. Bradford fumbled the snap on fourth down but was able to pick it up and plunge in for the score.
And the reason the Sooners were able to stay ahead in the first place was a rare defensive 2-point conversion, scored when Oklahoma State went for 2 to try and tie it at 21 and instead fell behind by four on Frank Alexander's return of Robinson's fumble.
"Sometimes you do need to have a little luck to win, and I felt like there were a couple plays that luck was on our side," Bradford said. "But I still think that we played very well tonight overall."
Bradford completed 30 of 44 passes, leading Oklahoma to its fourth straight 60-point game. The Sooners played out of the shotgun much of the game after Bradford injured his left thumb, which led to a few fumbled snaps.
Gresham ended up with nine catches for 158 yards, both career highs, and two touchdowns. Chris Brown had 98 yards on 19 carries and two scores, including one on the first play after a two-section wide swath of Oklahoma fans started chanting "B-C-S" with 32 seconds left.
"Hopefully we'll be the No. 2 team when it's all said and done, and we'll go play in the championship," Gresham said. "If not, we've just got to go with what we've got."
The Sooners' defense, which had been improving and made a statement in last week's 65-21 rout of then-No. 2 Texas Tech had few answers for quarterback Zac Robinson and the Cowboys.
Robinson threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score, but never could guide Cowboys (9-3, 5-3) into the lead after halftime.
Dez Bryant caught two touchdown passes to give him 18 for his career, enough to break Oklahoma State's school record set by Rashaun Woods. Perrish Cox had his fourth career kickoff return touchdown, the most among active players in the country, with a 90-yard dash in the fourth quarter to make it 44-41. But Oklahoma State couldn't keep it up any longer and the Sooners pulled away.
"We had our chances and just didn't get it done," Robinson said.
Robinson refused to get in on the campaigning for any of the three teams in the Big 12 South race, and Bradford said his opinion was "obvious" because he was biased.
"Everything we did tonight kind of says why we should be there," Bradford said. "It's out of our hands now."
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Updated each weekday morning and following games, Boomer Bytes is your quick guide to Sooners in the news:
After a raucous, 61-41 win against No. 11 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, the Sooners (11-1) await the latest BCS standings to determine their fate. Will the Big 12 Championship Game on December 6 against Missouri in Kansas City be OU's next destination or will it be a bowl game? The all-important rankings will be announced between 3 and 3:30 p.m. Central on FOX.
Recap: OU 61, OSU 41 | Blog | Stats | Notes | Quotes
Current BCS Standings & Polls (latest yet to be released)
Dennis Dodd of CBS: "Oklahoma has the early advantage in its Sunday BCS showdown with Texas. It is a significant one. The Sooners moved past Texas in the Sagarin Rankings, one of six computers used to determine the BCS standings. Jeff Sagarin was the first of the computer masters to post their updated rankings..."
From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "...the first piece of public evidence used in calculating the BCS standings is not encouraging for fans of the Texas Longhorns. Jeff Sagarin has jumped Oklahoma over Texas in his updated computer rankings, which he releases through USA Today. It is one of six sets of computer..."
Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World: "Sam Bradford went airborne near the Oklahoma State goal line, over one Cowboy defender before being completely spun around a couple feet off the ground by another, because, he said, "I felt like our team needed a spark." The Oklahoma Sooners, protecting a 30-26 lead at the time..."
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "OU quarterback Sam Bradford added style points to his place in the Heisman Trophy race Saturday night. It still appears to be UT quarterback Colt McCoy's Heisman race to lose, but Bradford had a hand in five touchdowns -- four passing, one rushing -- and, on top of..."
John Helsley of the Oklahoman: "By game's end, the Cowboys wanted no more of Gresham. He produced timely catches, circus catches, and critical catches. And a lucky catch, too, with Sam Bradford's third-and-8 toss for Johnson bouncing off the wideout's hands and right to Gresham -- in stride -- as he..."
Jason King of Yahoo Sports: "As good as Texas is, the Sooners are the team that gives the Big 12 its best chance at a national title. And you can bet they'll get their chance after defeating a struggling Missouri squad next weekend at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. "Obviously, we'll be disappointed if it doesn't go our way..."
Clay Horning of the Norman Transcript: "The Sooners don't need BCS validation. They don't have to edge Texas out. They probably have but it is not required. It's only required to stick another championship trophy or two in the Switzer Center, but it's no prerequisite to call the season a success. OU must still win..."
Christopher Shelton of the Stillwater News-Press: "It was one of the most demoralizing moments in the neck-and-neck battle. Oklahoma State trailed Oklahoma by eight points in the third quarter when OSU quarterback Zac Robinson hurled a pass as he was dragged to the ground. The ball found its way into Dez..."
Dennis Dodd of CBS: "For three days Bradford and his mates have been watching Texas wage its not-so-subtle campaign to stay above Oklahoma in the BCS standings in the event of the three-way tie that became reality on Saturday. At the end of a long, hard and -- in the end, dominating -- regular-season, the perfect..."
Steve Greenberg of the Sporting News: "We can't say at this point with conviction that Oklahoma will pass Texas in the BCS poll and represent the Big 12 South in the conference title game next weekend. But there is no doubt the Sooners walked off the field at Boone Pickens Stadium feeling very good about their..."
Dave Sittler of the Tulsa World: "How can they deny them now." That's the question 181 people must ponder and answer by Sunday afternoon as they decide the fate of Oklahoma's football team for both this week and a month from now. Was OU's body of work over the last six games enough to break a three-way tie..."
Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman: "The Sooners won it 61-41, their fourth, count 'em, fourth straight game to crack the 60-point barrier, and their reward for such a show, for such a monumental feat of outrageous football is this. A Sunday of worrying about and waiting on points out of their control. "Out of our hands now..."
John Shinn of the Norman Transcript: "It was a thing of beauty, unless defense is your thing. If that was the case, Saturday night's Bedlam showdown at Boone Pickens Stadium might have caused frequent trips to the bathroom. In the end it was No. 3 Oklahoma that won one of the most memorable offensive explosions in the..."
Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News: "The BCS No. 3 Sooners endured a heart-racing second half and beat Oklahoma State, 61-41, at Boone Pickens Stadium. And that's why they very well could be playing Missouri next Saturday in the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City. That's why an OU national championship is still..."
Alan Trubow of the Austin American-Statesman: "The ball bounced everywhere Saturday night . And every time when it mattered most, it seemed to end up in the hands of an Oklahoma Sooner in the end zone. A fumbled snap ended up in Sam Bradford's hands for a 2-yard touchdown run. A pass deflected off receiver Manny Johnson's..."
From Rivals: "While each helped keep OU's national title hopes alive, Bradford and Gresham staked claims that they're the nation's best players at their respective positions. Bradford boosted his Heisman candidacy by throwing four touchdown passes and running for a fifth score in the Sooners' 61-41 victory over Oklahoma State..."
Tim Griffin of ESPN: "Barry Switzer had a term for the luck that seemingly graced his team throughout his career. The "Bootlegger's Boy" is long gone from the Sooners' sideline but "Sooner Magic" was alive and well for Oklahoma Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium. Two key plays that provided..."
Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman: "Dominique Franks set up OU's first touchdown with an interception on OSU's third offensive play. He stepped in front of Damian Davis and returned the pick 24 yards to the Cowboy 22-yard line. Franks now has four interceptions, matching Lendy Holmes..."
John Hoover of the Tulsa World: "In the process of beating its state rival, OU claims a share of the Big 12 Conference's South Division title -- the Sooners' third in a row -- and concludes the season 11-1 overall and 7-1 in Big 12 play. Oklahoma now finds itself in a dreaded three-way tie atop the South with Texas and..."
Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News: "History will show the 2008 Big 12 South was claimed this afternoon on a Bowl Championship Series computer. But if No. 3 Oklahoma is the team to emerge from the morass of a three-way tie, the Sooners will remember their breathless, too-wild-to-be-true 61-41 victory over No. 11..."
From the Kansas City Star: "And I still don't understand the logic that Tech's miserable loss to the Sooners created a two-team race that defaults to Texas. That suggests Oklahoma would have been better off beating Tech by six points rather than six touchdowns just to keep a three-team race alive. Other considerations:"
Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman: "Nothing rattled Sam Bradford for nearly four hours Saturday evening. Blitzing defenders? No problem. Teeth-rattling hits? Ever-changing defenses? National championship pressures? No worries. But asked about the Heisman Trophy after Oklahoma's Bedlam beat down of Oklahoma State..."
Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News: "The Sooners played the toughest schedule of the three tied teams. Cincinnati won the Big East and will be a top-15 team this week. TCU already is a top-15 team. The best nonconference team Texas played was Rice. For what it's worth, the Sooners had the most impressive victory..."
Tim Griffin of ESPN: "Sometimes, one play remains ingrained in the psyche of Heisman voters. Think of Charles Woodson's punt return. Or Anthony Davis' kick return for the old timers. Or Tim Tebow's charge into the end zone with several tacklers attached to him. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford might have produced one of those..."
John Hoover of the Tulsa World: "Four dropped passes, the second delay-of-game penalty of the season, and a fumbled snap all in the first quarter hurt. But Sam Bradford steadied things with effective third-down passing (8-of-10 in the first half), and the running game got going (121 of 187 yards came in the second..."
Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle: "Sam Bradford threw four touchdowns -- the last with about seven minutes remaining -- as No. 3 Oklahoma survived a back-and-forth second half for a 61-41 victory over No. 11 Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Series rivalry at Boone Pickens Stadium. "There are plenty of reasons, as there..."
Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman: "30-of-44 passing for Sam Bradford, 370 yards, a trampoline vault to set up a touchdown that will make all highlight tapes. Hard to ask for more. Sooners set the bar high against Texas Tech. A 20-point win is very impressive, but the game was closer than that. Bradford was not sacked but had to..."
John Helsley of the Oklahoman: "OU defensive end Jeremy Beal spent a lot of Saturday night in the OSU backfield. Then he talked with The Oklahoman's John Helsley: How hard was it chasing OSU quarterback Zac Robinson? "He's a great athlete. He made us miss and he made some great plays just scrambling for first downs..."
Dan Borst of FOX Sports: "Now, stay with us here: Obviously, if either Oklahoma or Texas wins the Big 12 title game, they'll play for a national championship. But if Missouri wins the Big 12 title game, then whichever team that does not get to the Big 12 title game would probably advance to the national championship game..."