GLENDALE, Ariz. — Bob Stoops came to the desert a year ago and got outfoxed by Boise State's Chris Petersen. Stoops came to this Fiesta Bowl and outfoxed himself. Oklahoma's BCS slump continued Wednesday night in a big-time way, a 48-28 browbeating by West Virginia. The Sooners weren't the better team. Not by a long shot. West Virginia's defense dominated the first half, and its offense dominated the second half. And Bill Stewart, the down-home, one-game-and-done interim coach for the Mountaineers, didn't get in the way. The same can't be said of Stoops or his staff. The Sooners were woefully ill-prepared from the outset, just as they appeared to be against Boise State. "Obviously, I need to do things differently as a head coach,” Stoops said of his fourth BCS defeat, three of the embarrassing variety. Starting with picking his spots a little better. Just like a year ago, OU rallied, clawing within 20-15 midway through the third quarter, when Stoops, who once had the magic touch on such surprise, tried to wizard his way to a win. He called an onside kick. Horrible decision. The Sooners had all the momentum. The defense finally had slowed the Mountaineers, with three straight possessions turned away. The offense had moved 59 and 80 yards on its two second-half drives, to a field goal and touchdown. No reason to give West Virginia breathing room. But that's exactly what Stoops did when Garrett Hartley's kick didn't even roll 10 yards. West Virginia pounced on the ball, and OU momentum went poof faster than you could say Mark Bradley. "Obviously, you're in a tight situation,” Stoops said. "We had the momentum. If you get the onside kick, you get a chance to really give them a blow. "In the end, you don't do those kind of things when you don't have momentum. I felt the opportunity was there... "There were still a lot of plays after that.” Yes, and all of them went West Virginia's way. The Mountaineers drove to a third-and-one at the OU 16-yard line, then came the most amazing stretch of defensive deficiency in Sooner football history. You don't think momentum swung? West Virginia's next seven snaps: • Noel Devine's 16-yard touchdown run; • Devine's 3-yard run; • Pat White's 42-yard run; • Darius Reynaud's 30-yard TD run off a reverse; • White's 79-yard scoring pass to Tito Gonzales; • White's 5-yard run; • Devine's 66-yard TD run. That's seven plays, four touchdowns and 241 yards. That's not acceptable if you're Kansas State playing the '71 Sooner wishbone. "Just definitely outcoached us and outplayed us, more physical, more disciplined in all parts of the game,” Stoops said. "Very disappointing to finish the season this way and after such a solid year to come out and play as we did.” More BCS nonsense: OU had 13 penalties, for 113 yards. "Embarrassing,” Stoops called it. Good word for the whole night. This BCS bugaboo is getting big. USC 55-19 in the Orange Bowl; the overtime loss to little Boise State, when Petersen's late-game tricks commandeered the game; now this runaway, in which West Virginia had 526 total yards with 9:21 left in the game, then called off the dogs. "Not very positive,” said Stoops, who admitted to growing tired of hearing about OU's BCS streak. "You get to this position ... you need to finish out and play well in these games.” The Sooners not long ago were post-season darlings. Now they can't win in January. Their coach, who once was Mister January, did them no favors in this Fiesta.
Quarterback Sam Bradford lays on the turf after a late hit by West Virginia in the second half of OU's 48-28 loss to the Mountaineers Wedneday in the Fiesta Bowl. Bradford was pressured throughout the game and was sacked a season-high three times. BY NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford winces as he's hit by West Virginia defensive back Erick Wicks. BY BRYAN TERRY, THE OKLAHOMAN