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Bob Stoops asked about other unusual decisions

OU coach said Roy Finch should've been used more in fourth quarter
BY JAKE TROTTER, Staff Writer, Modified: October 26, 2010 at 10:04 am •  Published: October 25, 2010

NORMAN — Saturday night, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops defended his decision to go for a two-point conversion down nine with six minutes left at Missouri.

Monday after practice, Stoops was asked to address a couple other curious decisions in the fourth quarter during the Sooners' 36-27 loss to the Tigers.

Notably, why down nine he elected to punt with almost two-and-a-half minutes to play and no timeouts remaining.

"You know what, in the end we weren't scoring twice with two minutes to go on our own 4-yard line," Stoops said.

"I just thought it was futile."

Stoops admitted keeping the score reasonable played into the decision, hoping that a nine-point loss might look better to pollsters than a 16-point loss.

With possession at the OU 4, the Tigers would have had an easy chance of punching the ball in the end zone.

"It's a long year. Who knows how poll people look at scores?" Stoops explained. "Had we had a reasonable amount, some kind of field position, had we shown any signs the previous three plays of making a play, we would have (gone for it). But I didn't see that.

"And I'm coming off three-and-out, interception, three-and-out, some of the prior possessions."

Stoops was also asked why freshman running back Roy Finch didn't get any touches in the fourth quarter.

Finch, who rushed for a team-high 59 yards on nine carries, was instrumental on OU's go-ahead touchdown drive in the third quarter.

On that possession, Finch had an 8-yard reception, then added rushes of 3, 14 and 7, which set up Landry Jones' 3-yard touchdown pass to James Hanna that gave the Sooners a 21-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

But in the fourth quarter, OU called 10 pass plays and only three runs. One of the runs was a 3-yard touchdown plunge by fullback Trey Millard. Another resulted in a 5-yard gain by DeMarco Murray. The other was the final play of the game, which led to a series of laterals.

Of the pass calls, seven fell incomplete (including the failed two-point try), another was intercepted and two more resulted in Missouri penalties.

Stoops said if he had the fourth quarter over, he would have gotten Finch more involved, and relied on the running game more in general.

"Yeah, I think as much as anything, a little bit of (Finch)," Stoops said. "Also the running game, we probably needed to stick with it a little bit more, too. Those are things you go back and look. ... maybe, yes. Not only (Finch), maybe some other guys and stuck with it a little more."

Stoops, however, pointed out that had OU been able to sustain any drives in the fourth quarter, Finch would have gotten the ball.

"Some of those, you're three-and-out, three-and-out, you don't have a lot of opportunities," Stoops said. "We would have liked to. On a drive, you have more opportunities. But when you think about it, we didn't have it much."

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