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Riverboat Bob Stoops returns with big-time playcalls in Sooners win

by Berry Tramel Modified: November 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm •  Published: November 28, 2010

With the game, and the season, and maybe a rivalry's course, all on the line, here's what Bob Stoops did.

He let his offensive coordinator call a pass for a quarterback who had been throwing the ball to the wrong color much of the night. And not just any pass. But a deep pass to a receiver who had been benched much of the season.

Then Stoops did it all over again, except this time to a tight end whose most notable play was a dropped touchdown.

You can list all the fake punts and fake field goals you want. The old Riverboat Bob never was as brazen as he was Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Oklahoma won this every-sense-of-the-word Bedlam 47-41, a wild affair that sends the Sooners to just exactly where two months ago we all thought they'd be, the Big 12 title game against Nebraska, but where not too many of us thought they'd be after a rocky road through the conference.

And Stoops won this because he did what not every coach can bring himself to do: believe in players who hadn't always given him reason to believe.

In the final 3 1/2 minutes of the game, Landry Jones threw touchdown passes of 86 yards to Cameron Kenney and 76 yards to James Hanna, both with the Sooners clinging to two-point leads.

Jones had thrown three interceptions to keep the Cowboys in the game. Kenney had been replaced in the lineup earlier this season and had just five catches since September. Hanna dropped that beautiful fake-field goal pass that might have cost OU the Texas A&M game.

Yet there they were Saturday night, delivering victory to the Sooners and keeping OU in control of this series for the eighth straight year and Stoops in line for his seventh Big 12 title in the 2000s.

“I was so pleased at how ... we made big plays in the fourth quarter when we had to have them,” Stoops said.

Remember when OU had a fourth-quarter problem? And a road-game problem? The Sooners scattered both Saturday night. They entered the fourth quarter tied at 24, yet beat the ninth-ranked Cowboys in front of a frenzied crowd delirious for State victory.

Even better than that, Jones grew up. Not a bad night, a monumental victory and a quarterback who should now have removed all doubts about his gamesmanship.

“A few tough spots, but we loved his resilience,” Stoops said of Jones, who completed 37 of 62 passes for 468 yards, which matches Sam Bradford's school record for yards.

Box Score: OU, 47 - OSU, 41 Photo Gallery: ESPN College Gameday

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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