A dominating performance made Oklahoma
State a conference champion for the first time in decades. Now, the
Cowboys want a shot at an even bigger title.
Joseph Randle ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, Richetti
Jones returned a fumble for a score and No. 3 Oklahoma State
throttled No. 13 Oklahoma 44-10 Saturday night to win the Big 12
championship and make its case to play for the BCS national title.
The Cowboys (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) snapped an eight-game losing
streak in the Bedlam rivalry and won their first outright
conference title since 1948 in the three-team Missouri Valley.
Oklahoma State's defense, badmouthed much of the season while
giving up big yardage but leading the nation in takeaways, forced
the Sooners into five turnovers - four of them by quarterback
Fans started chanting "L-S-U!" midway through the fourth
quarter with the victory well in hand, then stormed the field and
tore down the goal posts when it was over.
While the top-ranked Tigers won the SEC championship Saturday to
lock up a spot in the BCS title game, No. 2 Alabama sat at home
idle after finishing second in its division. Oklahoma State,
meanwhile, proved itself the best team in its state and its
conference. But it's up to the voters, who had the Cowboys fifth in
the coaches' poll and Harris poll, to decide whether Oklahoma State
will play for the highest stakes.
Coach Mike Gundy proclaimed earlier this week that he considered
the Crimson Tide to be the second-best team in the nation "right
now" - maybe because that's what he thought his team needed to
hear that to get fired up and prove him wrong.
"Last week, I said Alabama should be there," Gundy said on the
field after the game. "There's no question Oklahoma State should
be No. 2 right now. No question."
For most of the 107 years of the Bedlam rivalry, the Sooners had
the better team and more on the line.
But each of the past two years, Oklahoma came in with a lower
ranking and still found a way to derail a couple of the best teams
in Oklahoma State history - first dashing any hopes of a BCS
at-large berth two years ago and then taking away the Cowboys' shot
at the Big 12 championship last season.
With all that history on their side, the Sooners came out
looking to intimidate.
After coming onto the field, players ran into the west end zone
for a pregame prayer and then lingered after it was over - right
outside the gate where the Cowboys were getting ready to run out.
Coaches, game officials and security officers made them get out of
The Sooners couldn't back up the pregame bluster, though.
Brandon Weeden's 53-yard pass to Tracy Moore set up Jeremy
Smith's 9-yard touchdown run, and the Cowboys defense - which
entered the game ranked 107th out of 120 teams in the nation -
never needed any more than that.
Brodrick Brown outfought Jaz Reynolds to pick off Landry Jones'
pass in the end zone and prevent an Oklahoma score, and Alex Elkins
stripped the ball from the quarterback on a sack to set up a TD for
Jamie Blatnick picked up the fumble and returned it 59 yards to
the 1-yard line, and Randle scored on the next play to make it
17-0. Randle added a 2-yard run after Sam Proctor's holding penalty
on a kickoff return backed the Sooners up, and they went
three-and-out - punting it back to Oklahoma State on a shortened
Richetti Jones made it 34-3 after Landry Jones reached back to
pass the ball and fumbled it onto the turf, with the OSU defender
bobbling it and then finally controlling it for a 5-yard return.
The Sooners got their only points on Michael Hunnicutt's 48-yard
field goal at the end of the first half and Blake Bell's 28-yard TD
scamper with 2:25 left in the game.
Gundy thinks there's more to the Cowboys than the nation's
second-highest scoring offense, and he wants a chance to prove it
against LSU and its second-ranked defense.
"We'd love to have that challenge. I think our defense is
better than what other people say," Gundy said.
It ended up as Oklahoma's most lopsided defeat since losing the
2005 Orange Bowl against Southern California, and the
second-biggest margin of victory for the Pokes in the series -
behind only a 47-0 shutout in 1945.
Oklahoma State's case to play against LSU in New Orleans next
month will be hurt by a double-overtime loss 15 days earlier at
Iowa State, which finished its season 6-6. It'll bolstered by five
wins against teams in the BCS Top 25, compared to two for Alabama.
And, of course, the Cowboys will have the momentum from not only
winning a conference title but doing it in dominating fashion
against a team that was ranked No. 1 earlier this season.