In a 33-24 Bedlam loss, the Cowboys played well at times but didn't take control of the game when they had the chance, and the Sooners won it at the end. And the grades reflect it.
MIKE YURCICH: C
OSU unveiled few new wrinkles, other than an inside handoff sweep to Des Roland on the game's first play, which caught OU by surprise and went for a 75-yard TD run, though it was negated by a Charlie Moore holding penalty. But the chief complaint against OSU's offensive coordinator was the constant deviation from the run game. The Cowboys pounded the Sooners on a 99-yard TD drive in the first quarter, then fruitlessly passed three straight times on the next possession. In the third quarter, after OSU took a 17-10 lead and seemed in control, the Cowboys twice resorted to almost-exclusive passing. Three straight on one drive, four of five plays on another, which ended with Julian Wilson's interception of a Chelf pass.
The Cowboy crowd was excellent, for such horrid conditions. Temperature at kickoff was 16 degrees, and OSU fans wisely arrived en masse just before kickoff. They were loud and impactful. The only knock? The snowballs that were hurled from the student section on the celebrating Sooners after Jalen Saunders' go-ahead touchdown with 19 seconds left.
DEFENDING KNIGHT: A
Trevor Knight figured to give OU its only chance at a Bedlam upset. Wrong. Knight, injured on OU's final play of the first half, directed the Sooners to just three first-half points. The Cowboy defense largely corralled OU's option offense. Knight rushed for 47 yards on 11 carries and completed three of seven passes for 28 yards. OU's offense gained just 132 total yards in the first half.
DEFENDING BELL: C
Blake Bell was OU's third quarterback option. He took just three snaps before the fourth quarter. But in the fourth quarter, Bell completed nine of 14 passes for 137 yards and led two scoring drives. OU went away from the option game plan and ran the ball just nine times out of 23 fourth-quarter plays. The Cowboys didn't seem ready for OU's return to the Landry Jones/Blake Bell offense, and it's hard to blame them.
CLINT CHELF: B
Chelf played mediocre much of the day, but you can't blame him much. Tough to throw on a day so frigid that Pistol Pete wore a duster. Going into OSU's penultimate drive, Chelf had completed just 14 of 29 passes for 143 yards. But Chelf was fabulous in the clutch, taking OSU on a 89-yard, go-ahead touchdown drive in the final few minutes, courtesy of four straight strikes – to Josh Stewart for 14 yards, Charlie Moore for 27 yards and Tracy Moore for 20 and 23 yards.
DEAL MAKING: B
OSU fan Daniel Kelly won $500 in a casino timeout contest, then in a let's-make-a-deal arrangement, traded in his prize for a mystery gift. Could have been a dud, but instead it was a bowl trip. Great selection, if the Cowboys had won and were headed to the Fiesta. But if it's the Cotton, the trade up was not that much.
REPLAY MANAGEMENT: F
Two plays on OU's final drive seemed worthy of replay review. But when the replay official didn't buzz the field to stop play, Mike Gundy didn't challenge, even though he had three timeouts and the clock was under 60 seconds. Justin Gilbert's near-interception at the OSU 10-yard line, then two plays later Blake Bell's scramble and pass completion to Jalen Saunders for a first down on 3rd-and-10 from the OSU 30-yard line (did Bell cross the line of scrimmage?) went unchallenged. It's likely both calls would have stood. But you can't take timeouts with you. Exactly what was the risk in using a timeout or two on a play that could win you the game?