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Oklahoma’s 12 best 2012 football moments

by Jason Kersey Published: December 31, 2012
Oklahoma junior Brennan Clay scores the game-winning touchdown in overtime of the Sooners' 51-48 victory over Oklahoma State on Nov. 24. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN
Oklahoma junior Brennan Clay scores the game-winning touchdown in overtime of the Sooners' 51-48 victory over Oklahoma State on Nov. 24. PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OKLAHOMAN
IRVING, Texas — As the year comes to a close, I’m looking back at the 12 best and 12 worst moments of Oklahoma’s 2012 regular season.

This morning, I released the 12 worst moments. As promised, here are the 12 best moments.

1. CLAY’S SHINING MOMENT (NOV. 24 VS. OKLAHOMA STATE, 51-48 WIN)

Game clock: Second overtime period

What happened: Oklahoma State kicked a field goal to end its overtime offensive possession and went up 48-45. On the second play of the Sooners’ possession, Jones handed the ball to junior Brennan Clay, who squirted through the line and ran over OSU safety Daytawion Lowe. Another Cowboy defender got his arms around Clay’s legs, but he escaped and scored the decisive, 18-yard touchdown.

Implications: Clay’s game winning touchdown gave Oklahoma, which played from behind for much of Bedlam, its first lead of the game. For the second week in a row, the Sooners’ offense showed resiliency in the fourth quarter of a shootout and came out on top. The victory avenged an embarrassing, 44-10 loss in 2011 that snapped OU’s eight-year Bedlam winning streak. For Clay, who had struggled through injuries and high expectations through his first two years on campus but always kept a good attitude, the touchdown was his greatest Sooner moment yet.

2. JONES MAKES DECISIVE CALL (NOV. 17 VS. WEST VIRGINIA, 50-49 WIN)

Game clock: 0:27 left in the fourth quarter

What happened: Oklahoma trailed 49-44 with little clock remaining, and called a timeout following Blake Bell’s one-yard loss on third down inside West Virginia’s 5. Jones returned to the game, audibled for Kenny Stills to run a slant — instead of the fade route that was called — and threw a dead-on touchdown pass.

Implications: Jones succeeded where the Belldozer couldn’t, and showed the ability to direct a sharp, game winning drive in a hostile environment. Making the play even more impressive is that Jones called the audible himself; typically, in Oklahoma’s offense, play changes come from the sideline. Jones finished the game completing 38 of 51 passes for 554 yards and six touchdowns. With only 21 seconds on the clock when West Virginia got the ball back, the Mountaineers ran out of magic — and time — and the Sooners escaped Morgantown with a 50-49 win.

3. DEFENSE SECURES BIG 12 TITLE (DEC. 1 AT TCU, 24-17 WIN)

Game clock: 0:31 left in the fourth quarter

What happened: Following a missed field goal that would’ve put OU up by 10 points, TCU quickly advanced to the Sooners’ 12-yard line to threaten their Big 12 title hopes. But a few plays — and a key holding penalty — later, on fourth down, quarterback Trevon Boykin’s pass to Josh Boyce fell incomplete in the end zone, with Tony Jefferson and Julian Wilson defending.

Implications: After two back-to-back weeks of the OU offense coming up with huge, game winning plays late in the fourth quarter, it was the Sooner defense that secured Bob Stoops’ eighth Big 12 championship in Fort Worth, Texas.

4. RED RIVER RECORD (OCT. 13 VS. TEXAS, 63-21 WIN)

Game clock: 4:25 left in the first quarter

What happened: Oklahoma led 6-2 and began a new series backed up at its own 5-yard line. Landry Jones handed off to Damien Williams, who burst through a hole in the line of scrimmage, maneuvered his way through a pack of Longhorn defenders and then — after a bone-crushing downfield block by receiver Kenny Stills — sprinted for a 95-yard touchdown.

Implications: Williams’ touchdown put OU up 13-2 and really got the ball rolling toward a 63-21 rout. The run was the longest in Red River Rivalry history, and Williams finished with 22 carries for 167 yards.

5. SAUNDERS ON SPECIAL TEAMS (NOV. 24 VS. OKLAHOMA STATE, 51-48 WIN)

Game clock: 14:55 left in the fourth quarter

What happened: OU trailed 38-30 when Jalen Saunders caught a 54-yard Quinn Sharp punt at the OU 19, immediately avoided three tacklers, cut to the outside and sprinted to the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown.

Implications: Landry Jones hit Justin Brown for a 2-point conversion that tied the game at 38 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. OU had erased another double-digit deficit; the Sooners trailed 38-27 minutes before Saunders’ punt return, and were down 14-0 and 17-3 early in the first half. With Saunders’ return and Justin Brown’s 90-yard punt return touchdown against Kansas, the Sooners scored on two punt returns in one season for the first time since 2004.

6. MILLARD TIME (OCT. 13 VS. TEXAS, 63-21 WIN)

Game clock: 11:29 left in the second quarter

What happened: Landry Jones hit fullback Trey Millard in the flats, and the junior jack-of-all-trades did the rest. Texas’ Mykkele Thompson dove at Millard’s legs and got jumped over. As Millard was leapfrogging Thompson, he forearmed the Longhorns’ Adrian Phillips to the ground and sprinted for a 73-yard gain.

Implications: Millard’s catch-and-run represents the longest OU pass play in Red River Rivalry history. It set up Blake Bell’s second — of four — touchdown runs in the game, which Oklahoma ran away with by a 63-21 score.

7. STILLS KEEPS FOCUS (NOV. 24 VS. OKLAHOMA STATE, 51-48 WIN)

Game clock: 0:19 left in the second quarter

What happened: Kenny Stills dropped three passes against Oklahoma State, including a sure touchdown in the first quarter with OU trailing 14-0. But late in the first half, Stills came up with a spectacular 15-yard touchdown grab. The pass from Landry Jones bounced off OSU’s Justin Gilbert and hit off Stills’ facemask. Stills tipped the ball over his head, turned and made the catch.

Implications: Stills’ touchdown tied the game at 24 just before halftime. It was the junior’s first-ever touchdown catch against Oklahoma State, and ended up being named the day’s No. 1 play of the day on ESPN’s SportsCenter.

8. COLVIN’S FIRST CAREER PICK (OCT. 6 AT TEXAS TECH, 41-20 WIN)

Game clock: 1:47 left in the second quarter

What happened: Oklahoma led Texas Tech 21-13 late in the first half, and the Red Raiders had moved 24 yards down the field to their 47. Junior Aaron Colvin rushed Tech quarterback Seth Doege on a corner blitz; when he was about four yards from Doege, Colvin leaped just in time to snatch his first career interception.

Implications: The Sooners added a field goal before halftime to take a 24-13 lead into the break, and Texas Tech didn’t score again until there was under a minute left in the fourth and Oklahoma had its back-up defenders in the game. Colvin’s amazing, athletic play stopped Texas Tech’s last real drive where it seemed like a threat.

9. BEDLAM BELLDOZER (NOV. 24 VS. OKLAHOMA STATE, 51-48 WIN)

Game clock: 0:10 left in the fourth quarter

What happened: Oklahoma’s Belldozer package was held in check for most of the Bedlam game, but Oklahoma State couldn’t stop Blake Bell’s most critical carry of the night. Bell broke loose of a backfield tackle and scored a 4-yard touchdown on fourth-and-one in the closing seconds of regulation.

Implications: Bell’stouchdown tied the game at 45 and forced overtime, where Oklahoma prevailed 51-48 when Brennan Clay rushed for the game winning, 18-yard touchdown.

10. WORT, WALKER ROCK JAYHAWKS (OCT. 20 VS. KANSAS, 52-7 WIN)

Game clock: 1:00 left in the first quarter

What happened: Oklahoma held a 10-0 lead, but Kansas had driven to the Sooners’ 11-yard line as time ran out in the first quarter. On third down, though, KU quarterback Dayne Crist retreated 10 yards back, where linebacker Tom Wort drilled him and popped the ball loose. Big defensive tackle Casey Walker picked up the fumble and rumbled 45 yards to KU’s 28.

Implications: Tom Wort and the Sooner linebackers had trouble adapting to their role in new defensive coordinator Mike Stoops’ system. This play showed Wort, despite his 2012 struggles, remains capable of big things. Plus, anytime a big guy gets the chance to run with the football, it’s likely to be an entertaining, exciting moment.

11. BELLDOZER SHIFTS GEARS (NOV. 10 VS. BAYLOR, 42-34 WIN)

Game clock: 14:25 left in the fourth quarter

What happened: Bell had trotted onto the field three times in the game’s first three quarters, but in each instance, a penalty stopped the play before it started. Until the fourth quarter, when he took his first carry of the game 55 yards for a touchdown to put OU up by 16 points.

Implications: Bell’s touchdown was the longest rush by an OU quarterback since Patrick Fletcher’s 58-yard run in 1998.

12. SHEPARD GOES AIRBORNE (SEPT. 22 VS. KANSAS STATE, 24-19 LOSS)

Game clock: 10:33 left in the second quarter

What happened: Landry Jones faked a handoff and completed a pass to true freshman receiver Sterling Shepard, who came face-to-face with KSU cornerback Nigel Malone, whom Shepard lept completely over to narrowly pick up a first down inside the K-State 10-yard line.

Implications: Blake Bell would fumble the ball away a few plays later, and Oklahoma went on to lose the game 24-19. Still, Shepard’s incredible display of athleticism is surely a sign of things to come from the immensely talented freshman.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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