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.
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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