Five takeaways on how OU football's six-year Big 12 title streak came to an end in Bedlam

Ryan Aber

STILLWATER — Bedlam certainly lived up to its moniker, and yet another OU game went down to the wire.

But this time, it was Oklahoma State getting the better of things, with a 37-33 comeback victory over the Sooners on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Here are five quick takeaways from the Sooners side of Bedlam:

OU vs. OSU football:Five takeaways from Cowboys' epic win over Sooners in Bedlam

Oklahoma players walks off the field at fans begin to rush the field following a Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. OSU won 37-33.

One last chance

Caleb Williams had struggled for much of the second half as OSU’s defense made life difficult on him.

Williams had been ineffective through the air after the break when the Sooners’ defense gave OU one more chance to win, giving the offense the ball back with 54 seconds left and 80 yards to navigate.

After an incomplete pass to start the drive, Williams broke free for a 56-yard run to give OU the ball inside the 25. 

But that was as good as it got for the Sooners, as Williams couldn’t connect on three consecutive passes and then was brought down for a sack on fourth down by Collin Oliver to put the game away.

Williams, who threw for 204 yards in the first half, was just 6 of 18 for 48 yards after halftime.

The Cowboys sacked Williams six times, and constantly made life difficult on Williams even when they couldn’t get to him. OSU had seven quarterback hurries, four from linebacker Devin Harper.

Early on, Williams was able to still make his share of plays downfield.

In the second half, those plays went away and the Sooners’ were left with little offensively outside of Williams’ late scramble.

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Big 12 streak ends

After Baylor hung on for a 27-24 win over Texas Tech earlier in the day, the Sooners needed a Bedlam win to earn a place in the Big 12 Championship Game against the Cowboys.

But OU’s streak of six consecutive conference titles — and four consecutive appearances in the conference title game since it was reinstated for the 2017 season — ended with Saturday’s loss.

Instead, OSU will face Baylor in the Big 12 Championship Game next Saturday while the Sooners await their bowl fate.

More:What you need to know about OU-OSU football showdown in Bedlam

Score however you can

The Sooners’ defensive line didn’t make the kind of consistent impact against the Cowboys that they did a week earlier in a win over Iowa State.

But early in the third quarter, Perrion Winfrey came barreling through the line and OSU right guard Hunter Woodard stodd little chance of stopping him.

Winfrey pushed Woodard back, then wrapped his left arm around Dominic Richardson, knocking the ball free.

Cowboys’ left tackle Cole Birmingham was able to recover the fumble, preventing a Sooners’ touchdown but giving OU the safety and its first lead of the game, 26-24.

Just a few plays later, after the Sooners’ drive went nowhere, Trevon West streaked toward Brennan Presley just outside the end zone.

On the punt that set up the safety, Presley had called for a fair catch a bit further from the end zone.

But Presley didn’t signal for a fair catch this time around, and the ball squibbed free into the end zone, where Justin Broiles picked it up for a touchdown and sent the momentum even farther into the Sooners’ column.

Penalties galore

The flags kept coming in droves for the Sooners beginning late in the second half.

The Sooners’ offense was flagged for three consecutive penalties late in the third quarter.

To that point, all of OU’s penalties had been called on its defense.

Anton Harrison was flagged for a false start on second-and-10 from the Sooners’ 22, followed by a Marquis Hayes holding.

OU looked like they’d finally broken through, with Kennedy Brooks breaking off a 26-yard run on second-and-23, but receiver Mario Williams was flagged for a facemask, negating the long run and leading to a Sooners’ punt.

The Cowboys quickly drove for a touchdown to cut the Sooners lead to 33-31 early in the fourth.

But the stacking of penalties wasn’t done.

On the next Sooners’ drive, OU was again flagged on back-to-back-to-back plays — illegal batting on Jadon Haselwood, a holding call that was declined, and finally a false start penalty on Tyrese Robinson.

When it was all said and done, the Sooners had been flagged a season-high 12 times for 74 yards.

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Getting Stogner involved

Tight end Austin Stogner hadn’t been a consistent piece of the Sooners’ passing game for much of the season.

In the first half, OU found something in Stogner, with a pair of catches for 56 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter that tied the game at 14.

But in the second half, Williams threw at Stogner twice — once for a 5-yard completion on third-and-4 on the Sooners’ next-to-last drive of the game, and another incompletion earlier in the half.

Stogner hadn’t had three catches in a game since the season opener against Tulane.