OU notebook: Third-down conversions key to Sooners' win

by Michael Baldwin Modified: November 28, 2010 at 8:02 am •  Published: November 28, 2010
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Big plays at the end of the game clinched OU's eighth consecutive Bedlam win. But it was a near 60 percent third down conversion rate (16 of 27) that allowed the Sooners to control the game.

"They were really big," said OU coach Bob Stoops. "I thought the protection was good most of the night and Landry (Jones) stepped up and delivered some really good balls in some important situations. That will help him continue to be the guy we really believe he is. He's a special quarterback."

Yards-per-play was very close but the Sooners ran a school-record 107 plays, 41 more than Oklahoma State. OU's huge edge in time of possession kept OSU's offense ranked No. 1 in the country entering the game on the sidelines much of the game.

"That was big," said offensive line coach James Patton. "It was possessions, keeping the ball, sustaining drives. We had several long drives with some key third-down conversions. It was really important to move the chains."

STEVENS PERFECT ON FIELD GOALS

OU's kicking woes have been well chronicled all season but Jimmy Stevens continued a late-season surge by converting all four field goals, including three in the fourth quarter, to give the Sooners a 33-24 lead with 5:53 remaining.

All four of Stevens' field goals were chip shots, ranging from 24 to 31 yards but the Heritage Hall product has made 10 of his last 11 attempts.

"Jimmy Stevens got the first game ball when we got in there," Stoops said. "I told him he was the biggest difference in the game making all his kicks the way he did. I'm really proud of Jimmy to have hung in through the year the way he has. He has really had a really good year and has really gained confidence."

HANNAH'S BIG PLAY

Tight end James Hanna probably was best remembered this season for his dropped pass off a fake field goal in a loss to Texas A&M.

Hanna, though, has scored six touchdowns, including one against Texas. But none were bigger than Hannah's 76-yard game-clincher with 2:34 remaining in Bedlam that gave OU a two-possession lead.

"It was really great to help the team," Hanna said. "That was rough (at A&M). It was hard. This feels really good. Really good!"

INJURY UPDATE

DeMarco Murray, who rushed for a game-high 80 yards, left with an apparent knee injury in the fourth quarter. Senior safety Jonathan Nelson left early in the game, on OSU's second series, when he suffered a concussion. Nelson was replaced by Javon Harris.

"I think DeMarco is fine," Stoops said. "I'm not sure but he was walking around celebrating with everybody. I think he's OK. I think (Nelson) is fine, too. But I can't say for sure."

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by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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