MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — With a Gatorade towel wrapped around his head, Oklahoma wide receiver Kenny Stills looked toward the sky and then dropped his arms to his chest and crossed himself.
Then he and guard Lane Johnson got on one knee and bowed their heads together.
Moments later, Johnson and Adam Shead ran along the sideline as Stills looked across the field as his teammates chest bumped and high-fived in the name of OU's 50-49 victory against West Virginia on Saturday.
The game was as tight as the score indicated. But it was a missed extra point attempt by West Virginia in the third quarter — and a handful of attempts at two-points conversions from both teams — that was ultimately the difference.
Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, who finished with 554 yards passing, and WVU's Tavon Austin provided the sparks in this one. Austin finished with more than 550 all-purpose yards. For every tough throw Jones made, Austin had a cut, a high-step and a slip through Oklahoma defenders as the answer.
Jones called it one of the most exciting games he's played in.
OU coach Bob Stoops called it one of the greatest comebacks of his 14-year tenure at Oklahoma.
All running back Brennan Clay could muster as he walked off the field was, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God.'
“Just relief,” Clay said. “When the clock hit double zero and we were on the winning side of that scoreboard — that was all that mattered.”
Clay compared the excitement of this game to the Sooners' game vs. Robert Griffin III and Baylor last season. The difference? OU came out with the win in this one.
For OU though, the second half wasn't real sweet. OU defensive end David King called the defense's performance an “embarrassment.”
In the second half, OU let WVU's Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey rack up yards, but the fourth quarter proved to be a shootout.
“We didn't want it to be a close game but it happens like that sometimes,” King said. “Offense saved us today. They made plays. We couldn't stop them.”
This week, King watched the Sooners' 2007-08 Fiesta Bowl matchup vs. West Virginia, which OU lost 48-28. Even though he wasn't part of that team, King wanted to make sure it didn't happen again.
As the game clock hit zero, Shead ran with a limp along the sideline and yelled “How do you like me now?” no OU fan had to worry about that 2008 feeling coming back.
The Sooners jumped and hugged as Stills stood on the sideline just smiling from beneath his towel.
“It feels great to come out on top of a game like that,” Stills said. “It hurts when you lose games like that so it feels really good right now.”
As the field began to clear, Stills was one of the last Sooners to walk toward the tunnel beneath the Oklahoma fan section. He walked with a straight face until the crowd began to roar. Then he smiled and raised one finger to the air as he disappeared into the tunnel.