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Oklahoma football: How Landry Jones and Co. bailed out the Sooner defense

COMMENTARY — A defense that Mike Stoops was supposed to fix made its embarrassing performance a year ago in Waco look tame. This was a Sooner defense at its historic worst. But Oklahoma beat West Virginia 50-49 because Landry Jones was at his best when it counted most.
by Berry Tramel Modified: November 18, 2012 at 12:06 am •  Published: November 18, 2012

Scatback Tavon Austin, who hadn't played tailback all year, rushed for 344 yards. Flanker Stedman Bailey had 205 receiving yards. Surely this was the first 300-rushing, 200-receiving yard game by teammates in NCAA history.

Clearly, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen outschemed Mike Stoops.

Austin “at the running back position, that's where it really hurt us,” Bob Stoops said. “Obviously, we weren't ready for it. It did really mess us up.”

But give Stoops credit for this. Clock management. Stoops figured out a way to keep the ball until almost the very end. Even then, with just 21 seconds at their disposal, the Mountaineers reached the OU 49-yard line, and Smith tossed a Hail Mary pass on the final play that was knocked down by free safety Javon Harris.

“They ended up making one more play than we did,” Holgorsen said.

And that one play means OU remains in Big 12 title contention. That's right. Title contention.

Kansas State's loss to Baylor turns the Big 12 back into a horse race. If the Sooners win out and get some help from their friends the Longhorns in a season finale at KSU, OU will be the Big 12 champ.

Stoops was so consumed with his game, he didn't know of K-State's demise. He was stunned. But Stoops also was pragmatic.

“I'm just trying to get to next week,” Stoops said.

In the bowels of Milan Puskar Stadium, Stoops met his uncle of the same name. The original Bob Stoops is an old Youngstown State coach who drove down to Morgantown and saw himself a whale of a game.

“Oh what a game,” Bob Stoops the Elder told his nephew. “I was praying.”

The prayer was answered, because this time, the Sooners had the ball last.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

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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