NORMAN — Before the season began, Julian Wilson let it be known he was going to be more of a playmaker for Oklahoma. No longer was he going to settle for just breaking up passes, the nickelback wanted to be a game changer.
Wilson proved as good as his word in last Saturday’s Bedlam game. When his team needed a jolt, the Southmoore alum stepped up with one of the biggest plays of OU’s 33-24 victory at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“It’s a big time game,” Wilson said. “Coming into this game, coaches already let us know it was going to be a close, hard-fought game. And that we were going to be in situations and we just have to come out and handle adversity at any point.”
That adversity presented itself right before the half when starting quarterback Trevor Knight was injuered and could not return. Backup quarterback Kendal Thompson threw an interception on the first play of the third quarter. Oklahoma State took advantage of the miscue to grab a 17-10 lead.
The Sooners did nothing when they got the ball back, putting OSU in position to grab full control of the game.
“You’re without your best linebacker, he’s gone,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “You’re without your best defensive lineman, he’s gone. We played a game or two without Aaron Colvin, he’s out there banged up with a bad turf toe … Trevor goes down and I’m probably missing somebody with all of the injuries we had, it’s just how it is.”
Needing someone to make a play, Wilson stepped up. On third-and-5 in Sooner territory, he figured out where OSU quarterback Clint Chelf was going with the ball, stepped in front and reeled in an interception.
“The bye week helped us get a jump on our opponent … I sat on the out route and just slipped in once the ball was thrown,” Wilson said. “I knew the out route was coming. It was third-and-5 and to the boundary. I knew it was coming.”
The Sooners took over on their own 40-yard line trailing by seven. They drove 60 yards in seven plays to tie the game with a memorable fake field goal.
It was set up by Wilson’s pick, just the kind of play he said he wanted to be making when the season began.
“That’s exactly what I was talking,” Wilson said. “Last year in this game, I got a pass break up on an out route. It was a pass break up. Got my hands on it. This year, coaches told me I need to step up and be that playmaker. So if I get my hands on the ball I’m going to do my best to pick it.”
Wilson was the only Sooner to come up with an interception in the game. Others made big plays, too. Despite the ups and downs of the season, the Sooners haven’t lost confidence in their ability to come up big in the big moment.
“We can handle adversity well,” Wilson said. “We knew everything wasn’t going to be in our favor at any point … They scored, but we had faith that our offense was going to go down and win the game for us. Always keeping faith in our team because we know we fight hard and we are just as good as anybody else.”
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