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!"
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."
SOLID RUN DEFENSE
One area nearly everyone gave the Cowboys an edge was a better ground game.
OU battling even in rushing yards â€” OSU owned a slight 122-120 yard edge â€” was a key factor.
The Sooners switched to a 50 defense primarily installed last week for the Cowboys. They held Doak Walker finalist Kendall Hunter to 55 yards rushing on 13 carries.
"Give the players credit," Stoops said. "I thought their positioning and discipline, playing their spots was really solid. Some of the 50 stuff was different than what we've done in the past. That didn't hurt."
Entering Bedlam, the Sooners had been outscored 93-32 in the fourth quarter.
With the game tied 24-24 heading into the fourth quarter, the Sooners 23-17 edge in the fourth quarter is the primary reason they're going to play Nebraska for the Big 12 title Saturday in Arlington.
"I don't worry about (redemption)," Stoops said. "In some of those other games we had opportunities to make plays and we didn't make them. Tonight we did. That's the difference. It has nothing to do with anything magical, any particular thing somebody wants to say. Our kids are well conditioned and play hard. They made plays in tight situations when they really had to."
DOMINATING FIRST HALF
The Sooners led 24-17 at halftime but considering a near 2-for-1 ratio in nearly every statistic the margin could have been even larger.
OU owned sizeable advantages in total yards (267-164), plays ran (60-32), first downs (16-6) and time of possession (19:18 minutes to 10:42).
The primary reason OSU wasn't in a deeper hole was Landry Jones threw three first-half interceptions, including a 52-yard return for a touchdown by Cowboys linebacker Shaun Lewis.
COWBOYS HONOR BARRY
Bob Barry, who was Oklahoma State's radio play-by play broadcaster for 18 seasons from 1973 to 1990, was honored during a first-half timeout. Barry, who is OU's current radio play-by voice, started out with the Sooners before his OSU stint. For half a century Barry has called every Bedlam football game for one of the two schools.
One advantage to being a Division I college football program is you usually avoid traffic issues. A stalled car on I-35 around Edmond slowed traffic heading north about three hours before kickoff. A police escort helped OU's buses navigate through the delay as quick as could be expected.
OU once again wasted two timeouts, one each half. The timeout in the opening stages of the second half was needed when the defense had only 10 players on the field... Jarvis Jones started at left tackle in place of Donald Stephenson but rotated in. Eric Mensik started at right tackle.