Stoops doesn’t usually like being that aggressive on punt blocks, but said first-year special teams coordinator Jay Boulware saw something in Kansas’ protection that made it susceptible.
“After that thing happened, man, our team just never looked back,” Boulware said.
Roy Finch returned the ensuing kick to Kansas’ 49-yard line, and that’s when offensive coordinator Josh Heupel dialed up a trick play he’d carried in his back pocket all season.
Blake Bell handed off to Brennan Clay, who flipped the ball back to Bester. Bester delivered a perfect strike down the field to Shepard, who coasted into the end zone to give Oklahoma its first lead of the game.
The Sooners have practiced the trick play since fall camp, but never felt comfortable using it in a game. Senior center Gabe Ikard said they’ve had it called a few times, but always checked out of it because of what the defense looked like.
“It did not look that good in practice — I can guarantee you that,” Ikard said. “For him to throw it like that in the game was very impressive and I’m glad he did it.”
On its first second-half offensive series, Bell found Shepard for a 10-yard touchdown, capping a six-play, 58-yard drive that seemed to put Oklahoma in firm control of the game with a 25-13 lead.
But the Jayhawks wouldn’t go away, intercepting a fourth-down Bell pass on the Sooners’ next drive.
Then early in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma backed itself up when Bell was called for intentional grounding and threw two incomplete passes, setting up a fourth-and-24 from the Sooners’ own 18-yard line.
Kansas blocked Jed Barnett’s punt, and Sims scored a play later to pull Kansas within six points.
Jordan Wade, though, blocked Kansas’ extra-point attempt, which was recovered by Aaron Colvin and returned for two points.
“It’s like we preach all the time, you know, special teams plays can change the momentum of a game,” Boulware said.