STILLWATER â€” Before last season, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops paid a visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to meet with Alabama coach Nick Saban.
A meeting that paid off in a 47-41 win over Oklahoma State on Saturday night at Boone Pickens Stadium and a share of another Big 12 South title.
With just a few days to do it, Stoops and defensive coordinator Brent Venables were able to install Alabama's famed â€œ50 Defenseâ€ this week. A base look they hadn't shown before.
Stunning OSU's high-scoring offense, while also slowing it down.
â€œWe got in a little bit of an odd look front more than we ever have. It worked out well for us,â€ Stoops said. â€œThe kids really executed well. Brent did a nice job of mixing that in and going to a 50 front a lot more than we were used to going to it.â€
Sure, the Sooners gave up 41 points. But one of those touchdowns came on a Landry Jones interception. Another was Justin Gilbert's kick return. And in the final minutes, when OSU scored 10 more of its points, OU was in prevent mode.
All season, OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen seemed to be one step ahead of opposing defenses. But in his first taste of Bedlam, Holgorsen never could quite solve OU's defense, which delivered its best game of the Big 12 season.
â€œThey schemed a few things that got to us,â€ Holgorsen said. â€œThey've got pretty good players, and they got to us a little bit.â€
The Sooners got to OSU by attacking speed with speed. OU used three defensive ends on the field at the same time, with Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander flanking the lone defensive tackle, and end Jeremy Beal essentially lining up at outside linebacker. Then, when they wanted to bring pressure, the Sooners walked up linebacker Austin Box to the line of scrimmage and brought him off the other edge.
For the first time all season, OSU quarterback Brandon Weeden was under duress. The Sooners didn't sack him, but they sure seemed to fluster him. Twice in the first half, Quinton Carter picked him off, the first interception leading to a Sooner touchdown.