NORMAN — In a Bedlam blitzkrieg begging for a defensive stop, Oklahoma State seemed to deliver, forcing a fourth-down misfire from Landry Jones at the Cowboys 33.
And there OSU's offense stood, 7:07 from ensuring victory on Owen Field.
Pick up a few first downs. Run some clock.
Maybe even score and boost the lead to double digits, a margin the Cowboys owned at points in both halves.
But at the minimum, move the chains and the clock and let the defense rest, at least for a while.
“That's the one time you'd like to get a first down,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy.
Instead, the defense enjoyed a blow that lasted but 49 seconds of game time, after the Cowboys offense netted a minus-1 yard on three snaps before a Quinn Sharp punt.
And this time there was no defensive stand – although there was another fourth down, this one converted by OU backup quarterback Blake Bell in the Belldozer package, the final play of a 17-play, 86-yard march that ultimately forced overtime, won by the Sooners 51-48.
Bell scored with just four seconds showing in regulation.
Hard to fault an offense that produces 490 yards and 48 points on the road in Bedlam. Yet Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken found himself on the wrong side of regret.
“That's the way it is,” Monken said. “We got a fourth-down stop, went three-and-out and gave them the ball right back. That can't happen.
“Stats are for losers. They really are. It's when you make plays. It's when you have game-changing opportunities and you don't take advantage of it. It's turnovers. It's explosive plays. It's third-down conversions. It's touchdowns in red zones. It's lost-yardage plays…”
It was a lost-yardage play that set the tone for the series, as Joseph Randle found no running room up the middle and was dragged down for a loss of 1 by OU tackle Jamarkus McFarland.
On second down, Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf rolled right and had receiver Blake Webb open, but threw the ball incomplete at Webb's ankles.
Third down, Chelf, pressured by defensive back Julian Wilson, fired a hurried heave for Josh Stewart that also fell incomplete.
“We thought they'd come after us and we had a nice little fade route to Josh,” Monken said of the third-and-11 call. “We've got to give him a chance.
“That little series there is disappointing. I could have called it better. It's not all (Chelf). He played well, really operated our offense.”
Overall, the Cowboys were held to four three-and-outs. But three came in the final 15 minutes.
And none carried the weight of the last one late.
“We had some critical stops in the fourth quarter, where they could have iced the game,” said OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, “and we just gave our offense another opportunity.
“They were virtually unstoppable all night, so we knew if we could get them the ball back one more time, we had a great opportunity to put the game into overtime. Guys made some clutch plays in the game.”
And for the most part, the Cowboys made their share of clutch plays, too.
Joseph Randle rammed for 113 yards and four touchdowns.
Chelf threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and added 63 yards on various designed quarterback runs and scrambles – a total reduced from 81 yards by three sacks for 18 yards in losses.
Josh Stewart caught 11 passes for 150 yards, including a 75-yard grab-and-go for a score on the first play of the second half.
None of that seemed to matter to Monken.
“At the end, you have a chance offensively — they make a fourth-down stop, we go three-and out. Take a little bit more time off it, which we didn't do.
“You've got to finish.”
Monken rattled off the five key elements the Cowboys live by and came up short by that one.
“Toughness. Effort. Discipline. No excuses. And finish,” Monken said. “We didn't finish on offense. And if anybody looks at it any other way, they're wrong. About what the score was, what we did.
“We had a chance to finish and we didn't.”