The Norman Transcript

November 26, 2012

Sooners move up in BCS

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s victory over Oklahoma State did allow it to climb in the latest BCS standings on Sunday.

The Sooners moved up two spots to No. 11 with one regular-season game to go. They also moved up two spots to No. 11 in the USA Today coaches poll and two spots to No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25.

With only this Saturday’s game with TCU remaining, the Sooners are ranked high enough to receive an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game.

Turning to the run: OU threw for 512 yards on Saturday, but it was two running plays that produced the Sooners’ game-winning touchdown drive in overtime. Fullback Trey Millard ran up the middle for 7 yards. Running back Brennan Clay followed it up with an 18-yard touchdown run.

“I felt like we wanted to stick one in there as a run/pass option. I felt like the numbers were right to stick one in there and keep us ahead of the chains to stay out of third and long situations,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “Trey’s done a good job, besides the fumble, of sticking it and having some five-, six-, seven-yard runs off of that scheme and then you’re in a situation where you’re ahead of the chains and you’ve got to stick another one in there.”

The 25 rushing yards in overtime accounted for 23.5 percent of the Sooners 106-yard rushing total.

On timeout to burn: OU sent the game to overtime on Blake Bell’s 4-yard touchdown run with four seconds left. It was a fourth-down play, but OU only needed one yard for a first down.

“I’d already told the official that if he makes the first down, which I anticipated he would, if he’s not in the end zone stop it immediately using my last time out,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “So we would have had another play.”

Big return: Jalen Saunders has four punt returns this season. Three of them have gone for six yards. The other was the 81-yard return for a touchdown on Saturday.

Stoops said it was just a hunch earlier in the week that replacing Justin Brown with Saunders on punt returns would produce a big play.

“Justin gets a little — he’s caught a bunch of balls for a bunch of yards and we’ve been talking about that for the last couple of week: let’s get Jalen some catches back there because of how dynamic he is,” he said. “It didn’t surprise us that he would squirt out of there and the guys, I thought, blocked really well.”

A win is a win: The Sooners have given up 97 points in the last two games, but Stoops said that doesn’t water down the victories over Oklahoma State or last week’s against West Virginia.

“Whatever side of the ball isn’t where you want it to be, as a head coach I always want it to be better,” he said. “You guys always try and trap me into being a defensive coordinator, I’ve been a head coach for 14 years. I’ll win 51-48 as opposed to losing 7-6 every day. That includes next week if need be.”

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