OU was destined for the Big 12 Championship game the following week and Oklahoma State was struggling in a three-win season.
Despite that, the Sooners were pushed to the limit until forging a 12-7 win and victory No. 700.
The first possession went well for Oklahoma. With Josh Heupel throwing for 47 yards and Quentin Griffin rushing for 45, the offense covered 99 yards in 11 plays. The touchdown came on a three-yard pass from Heupel to Curtis Fagan. Tim Duncan added the extra point and it was 7-0 early.
In the second period, Sooner safety, J.T. Thatcher intercepted Aso Pogi at the Sooner 32, and returned his eighth interception of the season for 35-yards to the OSU 35. The Sooners picked up only one first down before the drive stalled and Tim Duncan hit the 39-yard field goal up the count to 10-0.
Oklahoma's defense got on the board later in the second quarter when linebackers Rocky Calmus and Torrence Marshall forced Pogi into an intentional grounding penalty from his own end-zone. A safety was awarded an OU had a 12-0 lead with 3:09 remaining before the half.
The Sooners and Cowboys exchanged punts till late in the third period when Cowboy freshman Tatum Bell rocketed around left end for a 60-yard touchdown run; trimming the Sooners' lead to 12-7.
The Cowboys' defense continued to stymie the Sooners, dropping as many as nine players into pass coverage and rarely blitzing.
"They were using a defensive formation that I've never seen in a 21-year coaching career," said OU Offensive Coordinator Mark Mangino.
The Sooners moved the ball early in the fourth period, but the drive ended with Tim Duncan's, 45-yard field goal attempt, which drifted wide right.
Later in the final period, OSU threatened again when Gabe Lindsey returned a Jeff Ferguson's punt for 22-yards to the Sooners 39.
The Cowboys marched to just inside the Sooner 10-yard line with 5:14 remaining.
Bell had the first crack at the Sooners and was stopped by Marshall after only a one-yard pickup. On the next play, Pogi scrambled to for two more. Third down came from the Sooner 7, but the Cowboys were flagged for a false start and were pushed back to their own 12.
It was then that Pogi, under pressure from Sooner defensive linemen Bary Holleyman and Corey Callens, threw the ball away. The Cowboys called their second time-out.
The game, an undefeated season and, as it turned out, the National Championship all hinged on what happened next.
Pogi was under pressure immediately. He lofted a pass toward Marcellus Rivers, who was running a fade pattern to the back of the end zone. Sooner cornerback, Derrick Strait. Strait, who gave away nearly six inches to Rivers, leaped and swatted the ball to the ground.
"I was waiting," said Strait. "I knew it would be me and him and the ball. Either I would make the play, or they were going to score."
Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops said, "That was textbook. I didn't realize he could jump so high."
The Sooners got the ball back and ran out the remainder of the clock.
The Sooners had their undefeated regular season.
The following week, they bounced Kansas State, 27-24, for the Big 12 crown and then capped the school's seventh national championship with a 13-2 triumph over Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
- Sooner football historian Mike Brooks highlights the milestone wins for Oklahoma.
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