Sooners down Cowboys in Bedlam battle
Head coach Bob Stoops avoided his first six-loss season during his tenure at OU by defeating the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys 27-0 Saturday in the final game at Owen Field during the 2009 season.
The shutout victory kept the Sooners’ (7-5, 5-3) FBS-best 30-game home winning streak intact, and killed the Cowboys’ (9-3, 6-2) chances of making their first Bowl Championship Series game in the program’s history.
Saturday marked the first time in the last fifteen matchups that a Bedlam matchup ended with one team shutting out the other. OSU defeated the Sooners 12-0 in 1995 in Norman.
Despite sloppy play, OU outscored OSU 10-0 after 30 minutes of play. The defense dominated the line of scrimmage and held the Cowboys to a mere 106 yards of offense in the first half.
Following a 59-yard punt return by sophomore wide receiver Ryan Broyles that put the Sooners on the Cowboys’ seven yard line, freshman quarterback Landry Jones could not handle a shotgun snap from junior center Brian Lepak. OSU fell on the loose ball to take possession and end OU’s first serious threat.
The lost fumble was the Sooners’ 22nd fumble and their ninth lost fumble of the season. They lost two fumbles in 14 games during the 2008 season.
OU’s stingy defense made up for the Sooners’ horrific first-quarter offense that totaled 55 yards, holding the Cowboys to 41 offensive yards. Senior quarterback Zac Robinson started for the Cowboys for the first time since suffering a concussion on Nov. 14 against Texas Tech.
The first quarter ended with a 29-yard pass-and-catch from Jones to freshman wide receiver Jaz Reynolds that put the Sooners at OSU’s 13 yard line.
But OU could not capitalize on the good field position to start the second quarter. The offense stalled inside the Cowboys’ 10 yard line and settled for a 24-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Patrick O’Hara for the game’s first score.
The Sooners’ offense remained hot and put together its first touchdown drive of the game with 10:20 left in the first half. Jones found Broyles downfield for a 47-yard gain, and junior running back DeMarco Murray hurdled over OSU defenders from 13 yards out to give OU a 10-0 lead that the Sooners took into halftime.
The Sooners’ defense took control of the second half while the offense played keep-away. The offense took minutes off the clock by putting together lengthy drives and keeping the Cowboys’ unproductive offense off the field.
Getting the ball to start the second half, OU successfully drove down the field on its first drive. O’Hara kicked through his second field goal of the game from 19 yards out.
The drive took 6:41 seconds off the clock and gave OU a 13-0 lead.
Searching for a response to the 13-point deficit, Robinson made his first costly mistake on the afternoon on the Cowboys second drive of the second half when his pass into double coverage was intercepted by junior safety Jonathan Nelson. Nelson returned the ball to OSU’s 13 yard line and put OU’s offense in good position to score.
The interception was Nelson’s third in as many games.
The Sooners were able capitalize on the good field position by punching the ball into the end zone after handing the ball off to Murray twice. On his second carry of the drive, he cut through OSU’s defensive line for nine yards to pay-dirt to extend OU’s lead to 20-0.
With the game secure, Broyles found daylight in the Cowboys’ punt coverage and broke free for an 87-yard punt return for a touchdown. The touchdown was Broyles’ second career touchdown via the punt return, and increased the lead to 27-0.
The defense’s near-perfect performance was almost undone while it was standing on the sideline.
With about a minute left in the game, freshman running back Jermie Calhoun fumbled the ball and the Cowboys recovered it and looked as if they would return it for a touchdown. But, sophomore tight end Trent Ratterree hustled and caught the defender from behind, forced and recovered the play’s second fumble to secure the shutout.
The defense held OSU’s offense to 109 yards – 47 passing yards and 62 rushing yards – and recorded its third shutout this season, all of which coming at home.
Even though Jones did not have his best performance Saturday, he ended the day completing 20 of 37 passes for 224 yards while throwing no touchdowns or interceptions.
In his return, Robinson threw for 44 yards on nine completions with one interception before he was taken out of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
Broyles had a career day Saturday with his 316 all-purpose yards against the Cowboys. He caught a team-high nine passes for 103 yards while rushing for four yards and returning eight punts for 209 yards.
The Sooners now await their bowl-fate, and they may have played themselves out of the Insight Bowl and Sun Bowl and into the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2 in San Antonio, Texas. The bowl announcement will be made on Dec. 6.