NORMAN, Okla. – The shoe is on the other foot this time around for Oklahoma when it comes to Bedlam. The Sooners have been the recipients of two stunning memorable wins against in-state rival Oklahoma State in 2012 and 2013.
But this time it was the Cowboys doing the celebrating, and on Owen Field, no less. In a stunning turn of events, OSU pulled out a 38-35 upset overtime victory against the heavily favored Sooners on Saturday afternoon.
And in an incredibly frustrating way for OU and its fans, it completes encapsulates the Sooners in the 2014 season.
With 5:11 left in the fourth quarter, it appeared OU was on its way toward another Bedlam victory. The Sooners were up 35-21.
It all changed so fast.
“We had them where we wanted them, but we just couldn’t finish,” senior tight end Blake Bell said.
OU still held a 35-28 lead with under a minute left in the fourth quarter when OU coach Bob Stoops made a decision that is going to be scrutinized forever and allowed Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Hill to enter his name into Bedlam lore.
Hill made a fair catch at OSU’s 15 yard line, but OSU was called for running into the kicker. Stoops elected to take the penalty and kick again. Hill did the rest, going 92 yards for the game-tying touchdown.
“I fault myself,” Stoops said. “Of course, in hindsight now, you don’t kick it again, and you put it on the 15. My thought process was to one-step punt it. We have been doing it all year. You get it down there and hang it around the 10 or the 5 and you get a chance to eat up another eight or so seconds.
“I thought we could cover 35 yards in a positive territory to where we pooch punted it. That didn’t happen. We hit the ball. We always pooch it left, it went right, and you saw the rest of it.”
That’s just the kind of season it has been for OU. In every 50-50 situation, it feels like the Sooners have just come up on the short end of the stick.
Dreams of playing for a national championship long ago dashed were replaced with the thought of another 10-win season. Earning another Big 12 title was replaced with wanting to send the seniors out on a high note on senior day.
Whatever the case, it just wasn’t in the cards for OU, who now sits at 5-4 in conference play with its sole home win in conference against Kansas.
“It’s really tough,” senior kicker Michael Hunnicutt said. “It’s all of our seniors’ last game here, and it’s not how you want to go out at all. We thought we had them there at the end, but it just didn’t work out.”
OU received the ball first in overtime, resulting in Hunnicutt missing a 44-yard field goal. OSU worked its way to the OU 4 yard line, and Ben Grogan nailed the 21-yarder.
“I can’t even really explain it right now,” cornerback Zack Sanchez said. “It hurts more than anything – just for the seniors. I feel more hurt for them than for myself. It’s disappointing, and it hurts more than anything.”
All OU coaches, players and fans can think about is what might have been. OU will no doubt be outside of the top 25 when it’s released Sunday morning, and there will be no New Year’s Day bowl game this time around.
As great and as positive the season ended for the Sooners in 2013, it was the exact opposite this season. The team was despondent, really with no answers as to how it all happened.
“That is just the way our season has gone this year,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “We have been on the wrong end of some tight games. In the end, we just are not playing good enough.”