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December 8, 2013

Sooners deal with multiple injuries

STILLWATER —  By the time Oklahoma was celebrating its 33-24 victory over Oklahoma State, Bob Stoops wasn’t thinking so much about how his team had pulled off the upset as much as who they’d done it without.

The rash of injuries to hit the Sooners this season has been chronicled. It entered the game Saturday with starting offensive linemen Adam Shead and Tyrus Thompson. It played most of the first half with walk-on Caleb Gastelum playing middle linebacker due to an injury to starter Frank Shannon. Then was the matter of ending the game with Blake Bell, who was demoted to third-team quarterback, leading the game-winning drive.

“We’ve had some adversity, it’s safe to say, now I can speak about some of it with all the injuries, but the guys kept going,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “Nobody flinched, nobody said anything about it and everybody kept working.”

Here’s the complete list of starters OU had in September that were not available by the second half Saturday against Oklahoma State:

Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, linebacker Corey Nelson, fullback Trey Millard, running back Damien Williams (suspension), quarterback Trevor Knight, Shead and Thompson. That doesn’t mention cornerback Aaron Colvin and safety Julian Wilson, who both played through shoulder injuries Saturday.

Stoops compared it to 2009, when the Sooners lost quarterback Sam Bradford and All-American tight end Jermaine Gresham early in the season and dealt with injuries all season.

The difference: OU went 8-4 in 2009. It finished the regular season at 10-2 Saturday.

Tight end emergence: One passing option that opened up Saturday was the tight end. Brannon Green had a 16-yard catch on the touchdown drive that ignited the drive that ended with kicker Michael Hunnicutt’s 8-yard touchdown catch on a fake field goal.

Green also had the ball in his hands on the play before Hunnicutt’s catch, but it was broken up by OSU safety Daytawion Lowe.

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