Bedlam Beatdown

STILLWATER, Okla. — What started out as the Chase for Eight has ended in the regular season short of a Big 12 Championship, as the Oklahoma State Cowboys smacked the Sooners 44-10 Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium and won their first ever conference title.

"My congratulations and ours as a team to Oklahoma State: Big 12 Champions," said head coach Bob Stoops. "They obviously don't need to be worrying about sharing the trophy with anybody. They played an excellent game and deserved and won a big game."

And they might have made a statement they should be playing for the next big game in New Orleans, the BCS National Championship on Jan. 8.

"I don't know what will happen, but I know I'll vote LSU No. 1 and Oklahoma State No. 2," Stoops said.

As for the Sooners, their path is uncertain but could likely be any of the Alamo, Insight or Holiday Bowls thanks to their miserable performance in this one.

They turned the ball over four costly times, reached the red zone just once and just couldn't get any kind of flow offensively.

"Every time we approached the scoring zone offensively, we had a penalty bring it back, we had dropped passes on third down that stalls the drive and then we have two turnovers at the end of the half and early in the third quarter," Stoops said. "You have two turnovers that give them--not give them but they earned--two touchdowns."

The Cowboys capitalized on OU's mistakes.

OU couldn't force any true mistakes from the Cowboys.

And against the 93rd ranked rushing defense in the country, the Sooners just couldn't establish any sort of running identity, in large part because they didn't effort themselves to do so early.

"I was displeased with that at halftime, and I brought that up," Stoops said. "I said, ‘We ran the ball 10 times and we threw it 38 and that's why it happens to us.' Right at the end of the half is where it all broke down. It's not a very good job on our part as coaches."

Oklahoma State out-gained the Sooners 495-358, but the Sooners actually had more first downs (24) than OSU (22).

Still, it was the Cowboys who gashed OU time after time again.

"I don't even know [what happened]," said defensive end Frank Alexander. "When we came out we were all fired up, but a couple bad plays happened and we lost our edge I guess."

The Cowboys struck first in the blowout when quarterback Brandon Weeden commanded his team down the field and running back Jeremy Smith finished it off with a 9-yard touchdown run.

They had a chance to make it a two-touchdown lead, driving inside the 10, but settled for a 25-yard field goal by Quinn Sharp late in the first quarter to go up 10-0.

In the second quarter, OU was finally on the way to making its response, but that's when things turned ugly, and in a hurry.

With the Sooners driving inside the red zone and facing a third-and-6, quarterback Landry Jones was hammered and fumbled.

Oklahoma State defensive end Jamie Blatnik picked it up and returned it to the 1-yard line.

"It was 10-0, you're still hanging in there and we were moving the ball," Stoops said. "Every time we got near the scoring zone, we'd get something. We had the holding, which pulls us back, we had the dropped pass over the middle--a couple of them--and it just ruins your drives. Then Landry, we get pressure, the running back busts the protection--he has the linebacker, he doesn't take him--so Landry, trying to make something happen, ends up fumbling the football--touchdown."

The score was by running Joseph Randle, which made it 17-0.

After another quick three-and-out, the Cowboys used a 7-play, 43-yard drive to make it 24-0 when Randle recorded his second rushing touchdown of the evening, a 2-yard scamper.

The Sooners got on the board to avoid a first half shutout when place kicker Michael Hunnicutt booted through a 48-yarder.

But that really didn't matter, as Oklahoma State really poured it on in the second half.

First, Sharp added another field goal, this time from 37 yards out.

It was 27-3 then, just moments before it got disastrous, if it already wasn't.

Jones dropped back to pass and the ball slipped through his hands as he was attempting to throw it; Oklahoma State defensive end Richetti Jones picked it up and ran it into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown return and the 34-3 lead.

"You can't put it on anyone but me tonight," Jones said. "I singlehandedly lost this game for us. That's just the way it is. I had the ball in my hands and coach put the ball in my hands to win the game, and I lost it for us."

Smith made it 41-3 when he gashed the Sooner defense for a 37-yard touchdown.

Sharp connected on his third field goal of the game, a 34-yard try, to run the count to 44-3.

Those were the last points for the Pokes late in the third quarter.

OU would later add a 28-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Blake Bell, his first and only carry of the day, with 2:25 remaining.

Jones, who actually out-threw Weeden, finished 27-for-50 for 250 yards with a pair of picks.

Weeden, though, was much more efficient with his 24-of-36 performance for 217 yards.

Running back Roy Finch led OU with 68 yards on nine attempts, while Randle sprinted for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

Kenny Stills led all Sooner receivers with 63 yards on six receptions, and star wide receiver Justin Blackmon recorded 95 yards on 10 catches, but did not record a touchdown.

Both teams will now await their bowl destinations tomorrow.

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