Cameron Kenney and James Hanna: Bedlam's unexpected heroes

By Jake Trotter Staff Writer, jtrotter@opubco.com Modified: December 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm •  Published: December 1, 2010

— Before Bedlam, the last time Sooners Cameron Kenney and James Hanna saw the spotlight, they saw the ball slipping out of their hands.

Kenney, a pair of drops at Cincinnati and a fumbled return against Texas he was fortunate to recover.

Hanna, a picturesque fake field goal pass in the end zone at Texas A&M that he dropped to effectively end Oklahoma's second-half rally.

But with another chance in the spotlight in Stillwater, Kenney and Hanna emerged as unexpected heroes.

Redeeming past transgressions, the duo delivered back-to-back touchdown catches in the fourth quarter, which downed Oklahoma State while propelling the Sooners to Saturday's Big 12 Championship against Nebraska.

“I was really happy for both those kids. Those kids work hard, they really care about the program. They just hadn't had quite the success they had envisioned,” said receivers coach Jay Norvell. “We always tell them, keep working, keep fighting, keep studying, keep practicing hard and good things will happen. Eventually here you're going to get your opportunity. You just have to be ready when it happens.

“Both of them really came through in a huge way.”

In a thrilling end that saw OU and OSU exchange two touchdowns apiece in 92 seconds, it was Kenney and Hanna who lifted the Sooners to victory.

Holding on to a 33-31 lead on 3rd-and-12 from their own 14-yard line, the Sooners called a pass still in the playbook from the Mike Leach days that was designed to go to Ryan Broyles. But as Broyles dragged across the middle of the field, he drew three defenders to him. That left Kenney isolated in single coverage on a square-in route.

Before the game, there was no reason to believe Kenney would be on the field in the fourth quarter to begin with. After a strong start to the season, he gradually saw his playing time dwindle. Then he lost his starting spot to Trey Franks, a true freshman. Before OSU, Kenney had just five total Big 12 catches.

But after Kenney made back-to-back receptions at OSU in the second quarter, including an 8-yard touchdown, Norvell decided to go with his senior the rest of the way.

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