NORMAN —It takes more than a few flips back in the calendar to find the last time the Sooners won a game with a last-second field goal.
In fact, it’s been over a decade.
The last time Oklahoma fans watched a ball split the uprights to win a game was in 1998 when Jeff Ferguson beat TCU 10-9 with a 40-yarder. Last season, kicker Jimmy Stevens’ first year on the field, every Sooner contest was decided by double digits, leaving no room for such game-changing heroism.
Despite the Sooners’ lack of late-game heroics, Stevens’ 2008 season had plenty of drama. Against Texas A&M, he was benched in favor of Matthew Moreland after missing a 30-yarder, but when Moreland missed his only attempt of the season, Stevens reclaimed the job by making a 42-yarder at the end of the first half.
"That was probably the most pressure I had on a kick last year,” Stevens said. "I knew if I probably didn’t make that, I probably wouldn’t be kicking the rest of the season.”
Stevens didn’t miss a field goal again until his 49-yarder in the national championship four games later was blocked.
A second, albeit unorthodox, offseason in Norman has helped Stevens in his attempt to hold off Tress Way and enter the season as the unquestioned starter at placekicker.
What was different about this summer?
"Throughout the whole summer we actually had a Pilates lady and did Pilates,” Stevens said. "So that helped our flexibility quite a bit.”
All to prevent a similar slide that preceded Stevens being pulled.
Last season, a game-deciding kick by the freshman might have resulted in folks in Norman collectively burying their heads in their hands — half before the kick, the other half after.
At one point during Stevens’ high school career at Heritage Hall in Oklahoma City, he made 125 consecutive extra points. He estimates he missed three or four extra points during his career.