Sooner Magic turns into a nightmare

Unbelievable. That's the first word that comes to mind after Oklahoma (11-3) stumbled, fought back and then stumbled again in a shocking 43-42 loss to Boise State (13-0) Monday night in the Fiesta Bowl.

It's a game that will no doubt go down as a classic and perhaps one of the greatest bowl games in the history of college football, but it will also go down as one the Sooners would like to forget.

After overcoming a 28-10 third quarter deficit Oklahoma took the lead with 1:02 left in the game after a Marcus Walker 34-yard interception return for a touchdown, only to blow it moments later giving up a 50-yard touchdown on a hook-n-lateral play on 4th and 18 with seven seconds left in regulation.

Then, after an Adrian Peterson 25-yard touchdown run helped give the Sooners a 42-35 lead in overtime, the Broncos responded with a score of their own to cut the lead to 42-41 when they converted another fourth down with a 5-yard touchdown pass.

Boise State head coach Chris Petersen then reached into his bag of tricks again and came out looking like Harry Houdini with a fake-pass, behind-the-back statue of liberty handoff to running back Ian Johnson, who strolled into the end zone untouched for the game-winning two-point conversion.

"We kinda was like in awe of the way he did the mis-direction with the ball. I saw whenever he faked and had the ball in his back hand," said senior linebacker Rufus Alexander, who recorded 17 tackles, on the final play. "I was flowing over the top and he (Johnson) kept stretching it out. I thought he was going to cut back.

"But they executed their plays. They did a great job of doing them. Hats off to them and we didn't execute.

"I'm proud of the way the guys responded and fought back," said OU head coach Bob Stoops, who has lost his last three BCS games and is now just 4-4 overall in bowl games. "Boise made the big plays on some fourth downs and a two-point play and they deserve the credit for making those plays. They did an excellent job.

"I'm very proud of these guys and my entire football team for the way they competed and the way they've handle theirself through the entire season."

The Broncos' overtime heroics ended Oklahoma's eight-game winning streak, as well as their perfect 7-0 record against Western Athletic conference schools.

The game also marked what could be a bittersweet ending to the career of junior running back Adrian Peterson, as his spectacular 25-yard touchdown run in overtime could be his last as a Sooner.

Peterson also failed to pass Billy Sims as Oklahoma's all-time leading rusher. The Palestine, Texas native needed 151 yards to break the record, but only finished with 77 yards on 20 carries.

So what's next for Peterson?

"I've got a little time, so basically I'll just sit back and find the time to relax and think over everything. Then I'll make my decision. No rush," Peterson said.

Oklahoma outgained Boise State 407-377 and picked up 23 first downs to the Broncos' 16, but it was four turnovers — two leading to 14 Boise State points and one ending a potential scoring drive — that put the Sooners in an early hole.

Yet Stoops was still proud of his team.

"Again, I'm just proud," Stoops said. "Everyone can make of this what they want, but these guys are great to work with. Even though we made our mistakes and dug ourself a hole, we dug out of it with those plays. I'm proud of them the way they did it and executed. It just wasn't meant to be."

AP Recap | Stats |Notes | Quotes

First Quarter
--BSU-James 49 pass from Zabransky (Montgomery kick), 9:06.
--BSU-I.Johnson 2 run (Montgomery kick), 7:28.
--Okla-M.Johnson 7 pass from Thompson (Hartley kick) :26.

Second Quarter
--Okla-FG Hartley 31, 5:38.
--BSU-James 32 pass from Zabransky (Montgomery kick), :33.

Third Quarter
--BSU-Tadman 34 interception return (Montgomery kick), 8:05.
--Okla-Peterson 8 run (Hartley kick), 4:29.

Fourth Quarter
--Okla-FG Hartley 28, 14:57.

--Okla-Chaney 5 pass from Thompson (Iglesias from Thompson), 1:26.
--Okla-M.Walker 34 interception return (Hartley kick), 1:02.
--BSU-Rabb 35 lateral from James (Montgomery kick), :07.

--Okla-Peterson 25 run (Hartley kick).
--BSU-Schouman 5 pass from Perretta (I.Johnson run).


RUSHING: Boise State-Ian Johnson 23-101; Jared Zabransky 9-8; Vinny Perretta 2-2; Kyle Gingg 1-minus 1. Oklahoma-Peterson, Adrian 20-77; Patrick, Allen 11-61; Thompson, Paul 7-36.

PASSING: Boise State-Jared Zabransky 19-29-1-262; Vinny Perretta 1-1-0-5. Oklahoma-Thompson, Paul 19-32-3-233.

RECEIVING: Boise State-Derek Schouman 8-72; Jerard Rabb 4-79; Drisan James 3-96; Ian Johnson 2-4; Legedu Naanee 1-19; Vinny Perretta 1-3; Jadon Dailey 1-minus 6. Oklahoma-Iglesias, Juaquin 6-120; Johnson, Manuel 6-57; Chaney, Quentin 4-37; Peterson, Adrian 2-9; Zaslaw, Dane 1-10.

INTERCEPTIONS: Boise State-Marty Tadman 2-27; Gerald Alexander 1-25. Oklahoma-Walker, Marcus 1-33.

FUMBLES: Boise State-Aiona Key 1-1; Ian Johnson 1-1. Oklahoma-Thompson, Paul 1-1.

SACKS (UA-A): Boise State-Mike T.Williams 1-0; Andrew Browning 0-1; Nick Schlekeway 0-1. Oklahoma-Alexander, Rufus 1-1; Birdine, Larry 1-0; Bennett, Cory 0-1.

TACKLES (UA-A): Boise State-Kyle Wilson 10-0; Andrew Browning 4-2; Korey Hall 3-3; Orlando Scandrick 3-3; Gerald Alexander 4-1; Marty Tadman 4-1; David Shields 3-2; Dennis Ellis 3-2; Mike T.Williams 3-1; Colt Brooks 2-2; Nick Schlekeway 2-1; Quinton Jones 2-0; Ia Falo 2-0; Tristan Patin 1-0; John B.Van Hoogen 1-0; Dallas Dobbs 1-0; Tanyon Bissell 1-0; Kyle Stringer 0-1; James Hurlburt 0-1; Mike G.Williams 0-1; Rashaun Scott 0-1. Oklahoma-Alexander, Rufus 14-3; Holmes, Lendy 5-1; Harris, Nic 5-0; Lofton, Curtis 4-0; Latimer, Zach 3-1; Bennett, Cory 2-1; Thibodeaux, Calvi 2-0; Wolfe, D.J. 2-0; Walker, Marcus 2-0; Birdine, Larry 2-0; Ah You, C.J. 2-0; Jackson, Brian 2-0; Pendleton, Carl 1-0; Clayton, Keenan 1-0; Coleman, Steven 1-0; Dotson, Alonzo 1-0; Smith, Reggie 1-0; Baker, Lewis 1-0; Peterson, Adrian 1-0.

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