This is what rivalry games were made for – not to win championships, but to ruining the chance of getting there. Oklahoma had only the motivation of spoiling it for Oklahoma State, but it was enough to pull off the upset 33-24 win in Stillwater, getting a great cameo appearance off the bench by Blake Bell, one of fourth quarterbacks used by the Sooners, and a huge all-around performance from Jalen Saunders, getting things done as a receiver, rusher and punt returner.
There was also the big controversy of the interception. Justin Gilbert seemingly intercepted Blake Bell with the Cowboys in the lead. However, he never fully controlled the ball, or so the officials decided, and it ended as an incomplete pass. Five plays later, with 19 seconds left on the clock, Bell threw a touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders, leaving Oklahoma State desperate to keep their conference championship and BCS hopes alive.
It ended with a weird lateral play that like most of its predecessors went horribly wrong. The end result was Oklahoma picking up the fumble and running it for another touchdown to make this game look a little less tight than it actually was.
For Bell, who won and lost and won the job of the quarterback too many times, it was a redemption kind of afternoon. His touchdown pass to Saunders was his first in the fourth quarter since October, part of why he lost the job to Trevor Knight, who left the game early. Bell finished with 10-of-16, 140 yards and a touchdown pass, the most important for Oklahoma this season, who now look back to their losses against Texas and Baylor, wondering if they should’ve have gotten more out of those games.
The real MVP of the game was Saunders, scoring a receiving touchdown and one via punt return. It was his second punt return touchdown of the season, and the second straight year with a punt return touchdown against Oklahoma State. It’s the 2nd time in his career he has scored on a punt return and reception in a game. The other time came in last year’s meeting with the Cowboys.
The bottom line? Both teams don’t win the conference (Baylor do), but it also means Oklahoma are the first in line to get a at-large BCS bid, with some thinking it’s going to be a massive showdown against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. This might mean a game between two of the most successful programs with huge travelling fan bases, while Oklahoma State try and figure out how an almost perfect season went wrong for them in the unlikeliest of places – Morgantown and at home against a supposedly inferior team.
The last couple of years have been slightly disappointing for Oklahoma, losing their supremacy in the conference after finishing on top most of the time. Finishing at 10-2 doesn’t make this season a huge success, with Bob Stoops setting some pretty high standards over the years, but making it back to a BCS Bowl while ruining the season for Oklahoma State is pretty much as good as it gets these days without winning actual silverware.