NORMAN — Bill Young tried to throw out every look in the defensive playbook. He tried to make adjustments on the fly. He called a timeout to try to allow his players to regroup.
But his Oklahoma State defense that had bent all day was breaking in the final minutes, as Oklahoma marched down the field for the tying score.
Then it broke.
In a wild, instant classic-worthy Bedlam shootout, the OSU defense gave up an 86-yard touchdown drive that knotted the score in the final seconds of regulation, then the game-winning touchdown by Brennan Clay in overtime to give the Sooners a 51-48 victory at Owen Field.
“It's very frustrating,” Young said. “It really is. Obviously, it's my job to put the players in the very best position they can be in to have success, and I didn't do a very good job of that.”
Clay's 18-yard score gave OU its only lead of the game and sent the players and crowd into a frenzy. But that play wouldn't have been possible without the Sooners' 17-play marathon drive that nearly ate up the final six-plus minutes of regulation and ended with Blake Bell 4-yard run on fourth down.
OU quarterback Landry Jones completed 10 of 13 passes for 77 yards on the drive that features seven Sooner first downs — two on third down. And on fourth-and-1 from the 4, Bell side-stepped OSU linebacker Caleb Lavey's diving lunge and carried cornerback Brodrick Brown into the end zone with four seconds remaining.
“The whole time I was thinking, ‘We're going to get off the field the next play. We're going to get a turnover,'” OSU linebacker Lyndell Johnson said. “But unfortunately, they were making plays and getting down the field.”
OSU's defense was touted as — and had been performing as — a much-improved unit in the second half of the season. Entering Saturday, the Cowboys were allowing 25.4 points in Big 12 play and were getting more conventional stops versus relying on the takeaway.
But for much of the Saturday's game, that unit was reminiscent of the 2011 edition.
The Cowboys allowed plenty of yardage in between the 20s and 44 total first downs, the second-most in NCAA history. But they tightened up in the red zone and came up with opportunistic, momentum-swinging plays.