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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Sooners Respond With Late Touchdown of Its Own As Oklahoma Defeats Oklahoma State To Prevent Cowboys With Share of Big 12 Title and BCS Berth



Jalen Saunders celebrates his late TD with teammates, as Oklahoma delivers blow to what would have been an automatic berth for Oklahoma State had they held on to win


     The Oklahoma State Cowboys came into this rivalry game with so much on the line! With a win, the Cowboys would have clinched a shared of the Big 12 Championship and an automatic berth to the Fiesta Bowl, and on top of that, had a very small (but still possible) outside chance of a national championship. The Sooners of Oklahoma were playing for not only its own bragging rights, but a possible chance at a BCS Bowl appearance with a win! So much at stake heading up to a dramatic match up!

     The Cowboys started off with a bang, or so they thought went Desmond Roland took and ran the ball for a 75 yd. Touchdown (TD), only for it to be negated by a holding call on Wide Receiver (WR) Charlie Moore. Oklahoma State would end up costing itself from points as they would eventually go on to punt on the same possession.

     Oklahoma came into the game with an unique approach as they had three players they could/were going to use at Quarterback, (QB) Trevor Knight, Kendal Thompson, and Blake Bell. Knight would be used first, and despite having good field position on its first two possession's near midfield (OK St. 49. Own 47 respectively) Oklahoma could do nothing with the ball but special teams successfully downed the ball on Oklahoma State's own 1 yard line on both punts! The Cowboys however, would go the distance after the 2nd punt, going 99 yards on 10 plays finishing with Roland (who had a TD called back earlier) punching it in from 1 yard out to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead. Roland was responsible for 46 of the 99 yards on the scoring drive.

     After forcing the Sooners to punt the ball for the third consecutive time, the Cowboys would start its next possession on its own 22. But poor decisions by QB Clint Chelf caused Oklahoma State to go 3 & Out in which they went -7 yards on the possession. State would punt and Sooners Jalen Saunders fielded the punt and cut to the right and returned it all the way for a 64 yd. TD Punt return right before the end of the 1st Quarter to tie the game at 7-7. The Cowboys would threaten however on the ensuing possession!

     Oklahoma State had 1st & Goal at the 8 and eventually took it to the 1 with 3rd & Goal. On 3rd and Goal, Kye Staley was met at the line for no gain and the Cowboys now had a decision to make on kicking a Field Goal (FG) or to go for it. State elected for the latter and on 4th & Goal, Oklahoma's Chuka Ndulue and Gabe Lynn met Roland in the backfield and tackled him for a loss, causing a turnover on downs. The Cowboys once again shot themselves in the foot by taking points off the boards for themselves.

     After another Oklahoma punt, the Cowboys would this time put together a drive that produced points to put themselves back up 10-7 from a Ben Grogan FG.

     The Sooners with this time respond, and did so with a FG of their own. A key play on the scoring drive came on 4th & 1 when QB Knight did a fake draw and pitched it to Saunders who ran for a gain of 12. Michael Hunnicutt connected from 21 yards out to tie the game at 10-10 heading into halftime.

     Oklahoma would open up the 2nd Half with possession first and put in one of their other three QB's, Kendal Thompson. On the very first play however, Thompson was picked off by Cowboys Corner Back, Kevin Peterson. The turnover would lead to the Cowboys cashing in off of it as Chelf hooked up with Roland on a 15 yd. TD Pass to once again give Oklahoma State the lead at 17-10.

 Later in the 3rd Quarter, Oklahoma State was facing 3rd & 2 at the Oklahoma 38 and appeared to pick up the 1st down after a Jeremy Smith ran past the yard marker, but another holding call would cost the Cowboys and they would end up punting the ball after Sooners Defensive Back Quentin Hayes broke up a pass on 3rd & 12.

     The Cowboys forced the Sooners to a 3 and out on the ensuing possession and once again were driving, but on 3rd & 5 Chelf would be intercepted by Defensive Back Julian Wilson and the Sooners would take over. The Sooners would take the ball all the way down to the Cowboys 7 for a 1st & Goal. On 3rd & Goal, and with Oklahoma's 3rd QB Blake Bell now in, Bell would be flushed out of the pocket but fired the ball to the back of the end zone and momentarily appeared that Brandon Green came down with it for the TD. But Cowboys Safety Daytawion Lowe knocked the ball out of Green's hand at the last second to cause an incompletion. The Sooners set themselves in FG formation but pulled a fake and placeholder Grant Bothun threw to placekicker Hunnicutt for an 8 yd. TD to tie the game back up once again!

      The Sooners would begin the 4th Quarter with possession of the ball. Two key plays kept the drive going when Lowe interfered with Wide Receiver (WR) Sterling Shepard and a 4th & 1 conversion when Running Back (RB) Brennan Clay picked up the 1st on a 2 yd. gain. Oklahoma would go on to kick and convert on a 39 yd. FG from Hunnicutt to give the Sooners their first lead of the game 20-17.

     Oklahoma State could not do anything with the ball on the ensuing possession, but a solid punt by the Cowboys pinned the Sooners down on their own 1 yd. line. Oklahoma would drive the ball before ultimately being forced to punt with the Cowboys taking over at their own 11 with 4:38 remaining in the game. Oklahoma St. wasted no time! On the Cowboys first four plays, Chelf through for 85 yards (14 yards to Josh Stewart, 27 to C. Moore, and 44 to T. Moore) which set up 1st & Goal at the Sooner 5 yd. line. On 3rd & Goal, Roland rushed in for his 3rd overall TD of the game (2 Rushing, 1 Receiving) and put the Cowboys back up 24-20 with 1:41 remaining!

     Oklahoma started on its own 34 and were moving the ball when on the 4th play of their ensuing possession it appeared to be intercepted by Cornerback Justin Gilbert, but at the last second lost control and gave the Sooners another chance. Oklahoma made sure to capitalize on the Cowboys missed opportunity as Bell found Saunders in the corner of the end zone for a TD and the Sooners quickly silenced a shocked Oklahoma State crowd as they reclaimed the lead 27-24 with :24 remaining on the game clock. The Cowboys now desperate, received the ball once more, but on the last play they could do nothing with it as they lateraled the ball and went backwards. Allowing Eric Striker to pick it up from 3 yards out and put an exclamation point on it with a TD to give the Sooners a 33-24 victory. Oklahoma State with the loss, miss out on a 2nd straight Big 12 Championship and an automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl (and even it's small outside shot at a national championship). Meanwhile, Oklahoma, who improves to 10-2 may perhaps sneak into a BCS Bowl game as an at large bid after its wild victory over Oklahoma State!

Notes:
 - Both teams scored a Touchdown off of each other's interceptions
 - Both teams were a combined 4 for 28 on 3rd down
 - Both teams finish with exactly identical records, 10-2 overall (7-2 in conference play)

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