This year's matchup between the 13th-ranked Sooners and 21st-ranked Cowboys was rather true to the definition of the word "bedlam": a place or situation of noisy uproar and confusion.
While the scene at Memorial Stadium in Norman was definitely noisy, the only people seemingly confused were the defensive units of both teams.
The 99 combined points during Saturday's contest marks the second-highest scoring affair in the 107 games the two schools have played against one another, while the 1,108 yards of combined offense is just plain ridiculous. For additional drama, the two teams managed to reach overtime for the first time since the inception of overtime in 1996.
Most interestingly, though, was how the 51-48 Sooners overtime win was, for the most part, largely defining for Oklahoma's two biggest football schools.
The Sooners once again used a high-power aerial attack to overcome the defensive struggles that have plagued them more with every passing week. Sooner quarterback Landry Jones passed for 500 of Oklahoma's 512 passing yards and, in doing so, became the all-time leading passer in the Big 12 conference. Because of the ineptitude of the Sooners defense, however, a seemingly inferior opponent was able to hang around until the very end. As a matter of fact, Oklahoma State became the third consecutive Sooners opponent to lose by less ten points.
OU's performance against Oklahoma State nearly parallels their entire season. They were initially sloppy, tallying a missed field goal and an interception within their first three drives. Defensively, they gave up early points, putting Jones and company in a tough predicament. For most of the game, actually, the Sooners trailed. Much like in their two losses, the Sooners made a late push to tie the game. Unlike in those losses, the OU offense was able to score late and force overtime, and eventually win the game.
Once again, it was a somewhat disappointing performance by Bob Stoops' squad. For a team that began the season ranked fourth in the nation, Saturday's game should have been a cakewalk. Oklahoma State entered the game forced to start junior backup Clint Chelf. Though Chelf has enjoyed a moderate amount of success in his three seasons in Stillwater, he is often regarded as merely a game manager and nowhere near as great a weapon as OU's Jones. Earlier in the season, Oklahoma handled seven of the Big 12's top-rated quarterbacks with relative ease, yet somehow struggled to contain Chelf. In addition to accumulating 253 yards passing, Chelf also ran for 63 yards and caught a 36-yard pass.
In all fairness, though, it wasn't just Chelf that managed to rack up impressive numbers against the Oklahoma defense. Junior running back Joseph Randle had a career day, tallying 142 all-purpose yards with four rushing touchdowns. For a team considered by many to be in the midst of rebuilding, the Cowboys managed to put on a virtual offensive clinic against the beleaguered Oklahoma defense.
Speaking of beleaguered defenses, the Oklahoma State squad did little to change the perception of their own critics, allowing Oklahoma to amass 618 total yards. Once Jones righted the Sooners' ship, he was allowed -- practically encouraged -- to fire downfield at his own discretion. Jones dropped back an astounding 70 times, with the Cowboys defense managing just a single sack that didn't come until nearly a third of the way into the fourth quarter. Three different Sooners receivers managed to total over 100 yards receiving for Oklahoma, and throughout most of the game, the OSU defense struggled to uphold any sort of lead the offense was able to provide.
Once the overtime period began, it seemed as if these two teams would trade scores far into the evening hours. After an easy first down in the Cowboys' first two plays of overtime, things looked much like they had for the first 60 minutes of play.
But then Chelf's magic ran out, and after OSU failed to muster any more than four yards in the following three plays, Gundy's crew was forced to settle for a field goal.
It took the Sooners just two plays before junior running back Brennan Clay scampered 18 yards for a touchdown to give Oklahoma its 83rd victory in the Bedlam series.
The loss in Norman was indicative of the Cowboys' Achilles heel: its defense. For the fifth time this season, Oklahoma State surrendered over 50 points to an opponent. For most of the afternoon, the Sooner offense was able to do whatever it wanted against Mike Gundy's defense, signaling there's more work to do in Stillwater than simply developing young quarterbacks.
As for the game itself, there should be no reason for Sooners or Cowboys fans to feel disappointed. This year's Bedlam game had everything both OU and OSU fans long for: intense competition, lots of scoring and more dramatic overtones than an episode of Breaking Bad. For over 60 minutes, the Sooners and Cowboys mixed it up in an old fashioned Oklahoma shootout and, in the end, it seemed a shame one team had to be crowned the winner.
In over a century of intrastate battles, the Bedlam series has seen a great number of superstars -- Adrian Peterson, Barry Sanders, Lee Roy Selmon, and Thurman Thomas, just to name a few -- but games like last weekend's are a rare and welcome treat. In a season that can easily be described as discouraging by fans on both sides, Saturday's contest vastly exceeded the expectations of all.
Sure, the Sooners have failed in their quest for an eighth national championship, and the Cowboys look to have quite a road of rebuilding ahead of them, but if this year's Bedlam game is any indication of the things to come, football fans in Oklahoma have a lot to look forward to.
While both teams will face significant changes in the near future, one thing is certain: the current Stoops-Gundy rivalry sure beats the hell out of those games during the Bob Simmons and John Blake eras.
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