Jones, Sooners Escape With Win

CINCINNATI-- Yet again, the ball bounced the way of the Sooners.

Literally, this time.

With just 58 seconds left and OU leading 31-29, the Cincinnati Bearcats set up for an onside kick, which turned out to be a near perfect attempt, but OU was fortunate enough to come up with it out of the scrum and hang on for a huge road victory.

"I am proud of our players," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "I mean, they still made some plays in the fourth quarter when they had to, you know, to give us the opportunity along with some good fortune, you know, and then making a few plays when we had to."

An earlier one of those was perhaps the biggest play of the night.

With OU hanging on for dear life at 24-22, the Bearcats were poised to get the ball back with less than five minutes left and a chance to take the lead, but that's when punt returner DJ Woods made the fatal mistake.

Woods couldn't field the punt clean, and James Winchester pounced on top of it.

Two plays later, OU quarterback Landry Jones and the Sooner offense made them pay for it when he hit fullback Trey Millard for a 5-yard touchdown pass to take a 31-22 advantage.

"The defense before the last drive, you know, we have the fumble and, you know, the quarterback sacks and the fumble, those kind of things, and then offensively, being able to get it in the end zone once we had it down on the seven, you know, those kinds of things were positive," Stoops said.

And that proved to be just enough.

For the first time all season, OU trailed after a poor opening drive and personal foul penalty on the ensuing punt led to a 23-yard field goal by Cincinnati kicker Jacob Rogers.

But the Sooners bounced back quickly.

Quarterback Landry Jones drove the Sooners right down the field, throwing seven consecutive completions on a drive that went 12 plays and 79 yards and spanned 4:09, capped off by 1-yard touchdown run by DeMarco Murray, to give OU the 7-3 lead.

OU struck again minutes later when Jones found slot receiver Ryan Broyles wide open in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown pass, making it 13 straight completions for the Sooner signal caller at the time and a chunk of a 36-for-51, 370-yard, two-touchdown performance.

"You know, I was always confident in our guys," Jones said. "We were moving the ball pretty good against [that] defense."

Cincy, though, answered with a quick 89-yard touchdown drive in 1:53, boosted by a 55-yard toss from quarterback Zach Collaros to wide receiver DJ Woods and finished off with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Collaros to running back John Goebel.

The try failed, so it was 14-9 then.

On the next possession, Jones' streak ended at 13 straight when a pass fell incomplete at the 13:41 mark of the second quarter.

From that point, it became a bit of a defensive struggle for a stage in the game.

Teams traded possessions until place kicker Jimmy Stevens avenged his earlier 42-yard missed field goal by putting through a 42-yarder with just more than a minute remaining in the first half.

And OU took that 17-9 lead into the half.

The Sooners struck first in the second half when running back Mossis Madu scampered in from five yards out to make it 24-9.

But OU just never could put the Bearcats away.

"You know, we never had time to lose focus," Stoops said. "You know, we didn't have any kind of lead that you felt comfortable [with]."

That's for sure.

Cincy added a pair of field goals, a 43-yarder with just less than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, and another 43-yarder early in the fourth, to make it 24-15.

OU appeared poised to deliver a potential knockout punch, but that's when Jones made a fatal mistake, tossing a pick over the middle of the field.

"The interception's a big deal because you can't have turnovers in close ball games like [this]," Jones said. "That could have cost us the game."

The Bearcats, indeed, made them pay a few plays later when Collaros again hit Woods, this time for a 36-yard score to cut the lead to only two at 24-22 and set up the late game drama.

OU moves to 4-0 heading into the Red River Rivalry against Texas at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday, while Cincinnati drops to 1-3 into their bye week.

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