The Norman Transcript

OU Football

September 29, 2013

Shepard’s play might have changed everything

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — One more chance to grab defeat from the jaws of victory and here it was.

Like 1999, the Sooners were off to a big lead before the game even seemed to start. Like last season, OU looked like the best team on the field until, really, about this point, when everything was ready to unravel, just as it had before.

So here it was, third-and-3 from the OU 46, more than a quarter since the Sooners had last converted a third down. 

Except this was different. 

This time, were the ball to be given back to the Irish, it would be the first time since Notre Dame’s opening possession it would have possession with a chance to take the lead,

Almost 13 minutes remained. An eternity. 

It seemed like the whole game.

“Honestly, I was just trying to get the first down,” said Sterling Shepard, the Sooner receiver who still looks about 14 years old, but who’s become a man in opponent’s secondaries, giving OU a second No. 1 target alongside Jalen Saunders.

Offensive coordinator Josh Heupel, who’d always rather throw than run, called for the pass. Blake Bell, who’s completing more than 71 percent of his attempts, who seems incapable of throwing an interception, made the pass.

“I just put it out there for him and he did the rest,” Bell said.

It was a little pas thrown Shepard’s way that became a 54-yard touchdown and the play that beat Notre Dame, that handed the Sooners their 35-21 victory, that dashed demons, chased ghosts and may have had more than a few elderly Oklahomans weeping for joy. 

Like Red Sox fans who never thought they’d cheer a world champion, 57 years later, they got to see the Sooners down the Irish.

Metaphysically, it might the biggest play of the Bob Stoops’ era. The coach isn’t much for history, but that’s what Saturday was about, OU beating a program it had only impossibly beaten once in 10 tries before.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
OU Football
  • Shannon won’t face criminal charges

    Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon will not face criminal charges for an alleged sexual assault. Any punishment he receives will be through the University....

    April 18, 2014

  • OU looking into sexual assault complaint against linebacker

    The “personal issues” that kept Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon out of last Saturday’s Red-White Game are serious.
    The Oklahoman reported Wednesday night that Shannon has been accused of violating the University of Oklahoma’s Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy.

    April 16, 2014

  • Red White Transfer QB Baker Mayfield shows promise in Red-White Game

    Individual awards were not handed out after Saturday’s Red-White Game. If they had, quarterback Baker Mayfield wouldn’t have left Owen Field empty handed. He only played against defensive backups, but going 9 for 9 for 125 yards and two ...

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Red-White Game more of a treat for the fans

    Oklahoma didn’t play a game as much as it put on a show Saturday at Owen Field. At least, that was the intent....

    April 14, 2014

  • Red White Defense rules the day at spring game

    Fans want to see offense in spring games, and there were a lot of devotees at Oklahoma’s Red-White Game on Saturday. If 43,500 in attendance were hoping for a big day from quarterback Trevor Knight, they walked out of Owen Field ...

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sooner faithful best barometer for progress

    The headline, already up at Oklahoma’s athletic website by 6 p.m. Saturday, read “White Team Prevails in Annual Spring Game,” and if there’s a more meaningless summary of Sooner fortunes, in any sport, before next year’s spring game, I ...

    April 13, 2014

  • A couple of scares

    By his own estimation, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops thought 16 returning or projected starters were not in uniform for Saturday’s Red-White Game....

    April 13, 2014

  • Red-White Game won’t showcase all the starters

    It has been a bit over four months since Oklahoma played in front of a real audience. That will change at 2 p.m. today when the Sooners take the field for the Red-White game....

    April 12, 2014

  • Grissom trying to make move to linebacker

    The next evolution for Oklahoma’s defense is under way. It’s spent two seasons tinkering to get as much speed on the field as possible....

    April 10, 2014

  • Golden Eagles top scoreless Sooners

    The feast-or-famine affliction Oklahoma’s developed when it comes to scoring runs was alive and well Tuesday night against Oral Roberts....

    April 9, 2014