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Bedlam Postgame: Sooners Escape Stillwater with 62-52 Victory

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Tyron Johnson arrives but Sooners depart with victory.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

OSU’s offense made big plays, but not when it needed them most; OSU’s defense made big stops, but not when it mattered most. As the story has ended so many times, the Cowboys were competitive but lost Bedlam as they were unable to make the plays to separate themselves on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma State cut the OU lead to three with 9:51 remaining and trailed 55-52, but on the ensuing drive the Cowboy defense couldn’t get off of the field. Baker Mayfield’s drive took nearly seven minutes off the clock as he was faced with 3rd-down scenarios four times throughout the drive, converting on three of those attempts. The one he missed was huge as Cowboy linebacker Chad Whitener intercepted him at the goal line and returned the ball near midfield, giving Oklahoma State an opportunity to go ahead late. Oklahoma’s defense gave up its own share of big plays but their biggest stop was on 4th & 8 as the Cowboys threatened to score with one minute remaining in the game. In the end, Mason Rudolph overthrew the speedster Tyron Johnson as he was flying down the sideline.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State
Former quarterbacks Lincoln Riley and Mike Gundy give Bedlam quite the offensive flair.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Johnson was expected to be a big part of Oklahoma State’s aerial attack but has been fairly quiet to this point in the 2017 season. Biletnikoff Award candidate James Washington left the game in the second half with a high ankle sprain and the LSU transfer came screaming into the picture. Johnson would finish Bedlam with two touchdowns to go along 118 yards receiving. Not to be outdone, Sooners receiver Marquise Brown stamped his name in Bedlam lore by totaling 265 yards on nine grabs, finishing with two scores.

Oklahoma State fans couldn’t have asked for a better start to Bedlam. After a false start by the Sooners on the opening play of the game, OU faced 3rd & 11 on a play that resulted in an interception by Cowboy cornerback A.J. Green. As the offense took over, Justice Hill scampered for a touchdown on OSU’s first play from scrimmage, that was eventually called back on a hold by receiver James Washington. Two plays later a pass interference call gave the Pokes a 1st & 10 from the 11-yard line but two runs by Hill up the middle and an incomplete pass limited OSU to a field goal.

The second possession for Oklahoma didn’t get any easier. A third down Baker Mayfield screen pass to Adbul Adams was fumbled and returned for a touchdown by an aggressive OSU defense; however, after review, Big 12 officials ruled he never possessed the ball. Instead of a 14-0 early lead, Oklahoma State would take over at their own 35 after an OU punt, followed by a 3-and-out and punt back to the Sooners. For OSU fans, the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” as it relates to Bedlam is nothing new. But how would the Cowboys respond to early adversity? Well, they held their own, but the 11 points OSU left on the table would’ve come in handy in a 10 point loss.

Everyone knew it was only a matter of time until Baker Mayfield started making plays, and once he started, he didn’t stop. Mayfield connected with with Dimitri Flowers for a 49-yard connection for the Sooners’ first touchdown, hit tight end Mark Andrews for 55 yards to set up a 5-yard TD toss to receiver Jeff Badet, ran one in himself from 7 yards out, and then took one play to go 84 yards playing pitch and catch with receiver Marquise Brown. The Cowboy defense that appeared to have answers early was left only with questions at halftime. Mayfield’s numbers were plain silly after two quarters:

Mason Rudolph kept the Cowboys in the hunt with 3 first half touchdowns of his own. Rudolph found Ateman on two fade routes from close range and then connected with James Washington on a 35-yard strike. Sophomore running back Justice Hill provided a huge boost to the Cowboy offense as he added 16 rushes for 132 yards in the first half of play including a 30-yarder which would bring a close to the first half scoring-fest.

Tied at 38 at the break and receiving the ball to start the second half, Oklahoma State looked to jump ahead in the seesaw Bedlam battle. The offense went conservative on its first drive and punted to OU who responded with a methodical drive into OSU territory. As they entered field goal range the defense stood up, sacking Mayfield twice. Forcing a punt was great but the Sooners would pin the Pokes at their own two. Three plays later Rudolph was hit, sending the ball flailing into the arms of Obo Okoronkwo at the OSU 10-yard line. Two more sacks stalled the potent Oklahoma offense and the Cowboy defense would only surrender an Austin Seibert field goal.

Rudolph and the Cowboys would answer with a 10-play, 72-yard drive and a healthy dose of Justice Hill. However, on first down from the 3-yard line, a bad play call combined with a bad decision resulted in Rudolph tossing an interception to Oklahoma’s Will Johnson. Just as they did in the first half, Mayfield made the Cowboys pay and took his offense 80 yards in three plays, capped by a 43-yard pass to running back Rodney Anderson.

Bedlam stayed true to its name as both teams traded blows in an offensive slugfest. Oklahoma racked up 785 yards of total offense, the Cowboys 661. The Sooners also controlled the clock as they kept the ball for 35:41 compared to Oklahoma State’s 24:19. Mayfield enhanced his Heisman resumé ending the game 24/36 for an Oklahoma record 598 yards and 5 TDs, surrendering two interceptions. Rudolph ended more inefficient than normal at 28/54, 448 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs.

Next up for the Pokes is a trip to Ames, Iowa to face the Iowa State Cyclones who fell today to the West Virginia Mountaineers, 20-16.

As tough as it is to lose this game, Oklahoma State left everything on the field, unfortunately the Sooners are leaving with the win.