STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State appeared to have its second Big 12 Conference championship and BCS bowl game berth in three seasons within its grasp, thanks to a late rally.
Instead, the No. 6 Cowboys (10-2, 7-2 Big 12) were left in a state of last-second shock after rival Oklahoma answered with a rally of its own in the closing minutes of a 33-24 win on Saturday.
Desmond Roland, who finished with 144 yards rushing and accounted for three touchdowns, appeared to put Oklahoma State up for good with his 1-yard touchdown with 1:46 remaining. His score put the Cowboys a 24-20 lead and appeared to secure an eighth-straight win as well as the Big 12 title and BCS bowl game berth.
Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2) quarterback Blake Bell, however, had other plans. The junior, who started earlier this season before losing the job to Trevor Knight, rallied the No. 18 Sooners down the field and capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds remaining to Jalen Saunders in the corner of the end zone.
Saunders' touchdown came just five plays after Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert briefly appeared to intercept a pass from Bell, but the cornerback was unable to keep the ball from hitting the turf.
Following Bell's touchdown pass to Saunders, Eric Striker then ended the game for Oklahoma by recovering a fumble and scoring during a desperation series of laterals. The Sooners were then pelted with snow balls from the rival crowd.
Oklahoma has now won at least 10 games in four straight seasons, and Sooners coach Bob Stoops is 8-1 in his career against Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.
"That was a heck of a football game," Gundy said. "It's unfortunate that we came up short. What the game really came down to was that Oklahoma made some key plays on fourth down, and we didn't."
The win set off a frenzied celebration in a frigid Boone Pickens Stadium for visiting Oklahoma, while leaving Oklahoma State once again suffering a bitter defeat at the hands of its fiercest rival.
This level of disappointment was higher than most for the Cowboys, whose hopes of a second Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game berth in three years were lost after Bell's touchdown pass to Saunders.
"You just love it to see a guy who's a competitor like that, who's been sitting on the bench all game, to come in and play so well," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Bell. "He played great."