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Oklahoma football: Sooners coming through on fourth down and victory to go

by Berry Tramel Published: November 30, 2012

/articleid/3733445/1/pictures/1896983">Photo - BEDLAM FOOTBALL: Oklahoma's Blake Bell (10) celebrates with Aaron Ripkowski (48) and Trey Millard (33) after rushing for a touchdown in the final minute of regulation during the Bedlam college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. The extra point on this touchdown tied the game. OU won, 51-48 in overtime. Photo by Nate Billings , The Oklahoman
BEDLAM FOOTBALL: Oklahoma's Blake Bell (10) celebrates with Aaron Ripkowski (48) and Trey Millard (33) after rushing for a touchdown in the final minute of regulation during the Bedlam college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012. The extra point on this touchdown tied the game. OU won, 51-48 in overtime. Photo by Nate Billings , The Oklahoman

Reverse those four plays, simple stops by a defense in pressure situations, and look how the Big 12 differs.

OU is 7-4 and the season is a disaster.

Texas is 6-5 and Mack Brown is out the door.

OSU is 9-2, tied for the Big 12 lead and perhaps headed for the Sugar Bowl.

But the truth about big-time football, when talent is equitable and games are close, is that a play here or there determines whether you bowl in New Orleans or San Antone, whether your trip to the desert is for the Fiesta or the Buffalo Wild Wings.

Teams are defined by answering the bell when the pressure mounts.

“You practice for moments like that,” said OU receiver Justin Brown. “That's why you have camp, why you have winter conditioning, summer conditioning. You always have that in the back of your mind. When everything's on the line, what are you going to do?

“I think we responded to those situations pretty good this year. When it's fourth down, win or lose, definitely a little bit more pressure. But once you practice that situation and run that back in your mind when you're practicing, when the situation actually comes, it's way more easy to convert.”

And easier still when you've done it in a game. The Sooners have produced two straight weeks. If a third opportunity arises, OU will be ready.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. 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 newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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FOURTH-DOWN FINALES

Big 12 play this season has produced seven do-or-die fourth downs:

Successes

* Texas-OSU: The Longhorns faced 4th-and-6 from their 29-yard line, less than two minutes left, down 36-34. David Ash completed a pass to D.J. Grant for 29 yards, and Texas scored four plays later to win 41-36.

* Texas-Kansas: The Longhorns faced 4th-and-6 from their 34-yard line, less than two minutes left, down 17-14. Case McCoy completed a pass to Jaxon Shipley for 18 yards, and Texas scored five plays later to win 21-17.

* OU-West Virginia: The Sooners faced 4th-and-3 from the West Virginia 5-yard line, 26 seconds left, down 49-44. Landry Jones threw a touchdown pass to Kenny Stills.

* OU-OSU: The Sooners faced 4th-and-1 from the OSU 4-yard line, 10 seconds left, down 45-38. Blake Bell ran for a touchdown.

Failures

* Iowa State-Kansas State: The Cyclones faced 4th-and-5 from the ISU 8-yard line, minute and a half left, down 27-21. Jared Barnett threw incomplete.

* Kansas-Texas Tech: The Jayhawks faced 4th-and-9 from the Tech 24-yard line in overtime, down 41-34. Michael Cummings threw incomplete.

* Texas Tech-Baylor: The Red Raiders faced 4th-and-5 from the Baylor 20-yard line in overtime, down 52-45. Seth Doege threw incomplete.

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