As both schools and fanbases gear up for yet another high-stakes Bedlam, the Oklahoma Sooners find themselves in somewhat unfamiliar territory. Yes, OU, the nation’s fifth-ranked team, enters Bedlam in 2017 a 2.5-point road underdog to the No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Sooners have played the underdog role before, including a couple of times in recent memory, and have come away victorious following some of the zaniest football games that no fan (regardless of school) should have to endure. But these heart-thumping moments and late-game theater are what make this rivalry so unique and breathtaking.
While there are certainly many more memorable OU moments fans will remember from Bedlams past, we’ve compiled a few of the best (in chronological order) that took place in Stillwater since the dawn of the 21st century. Looking back, one can’t help but wonder which Sooner will add his name to this list in the next edition of the rivalry this Saturday in Stillwater.
November 25, 2000 - The Derrick Strait Swat
One of the signature plays in not only Bedlam but Oklahoma football history came during Thanksgiving weekend 2000. The unbeaten Sooners had their eyes on their first Big 12 Championship appearance and much more on the line than the unranked Cowboys who were looking to play the spoiler. In a low-scoring slugfest, defensive stud Derrick Strait did what he did best — break up passes.
On fourth and goal, Oklahoma State quarterback Aso Pogi threw the ball up for grabs to his tight end in the end zone, but Strait straight swatted it away to preserve the win. The immaculate pass break-up also saved OU’s storybook season as the Sooners defeated Kansas State in the conference championship and Florida State in the BCS National Championship (which also featured one of Strait’s signature clutch swats).
Oklahoma - 12, Oklahoma State - 7
October 30, 2004 - All Day All the Way
Hanging on to a seven-point lead in a shootout in Stillwater, Oklahoma turned to its fabulous freshman tailback, the indomitable Adrian Peterson, to blow the game open. Though the Cowboys would keep it close the whole way, AD’s spin move and 80-yard dash to the end zone midway through the third quarter proved the game was always in good hands with the Chosen One. Behind a monster 249-yard performance from Peterson, the Sooners prevailed over the Pokes.
The game certainly wasn’t without drama after that point, as Oklahoma State had an opportunity to tie it with a field goal with 15 seconds remaining. Luckily for the Sooners, Jason Ricks went wide left.
Oklahoma - 38, Oklahoma State - 35
November 29, 2008 - Bradford Goes Airborne
Despite injuring his thumb early on in the 2008 Bedlam matchup, Sammy B went 30-of-44 for 370 yards and four total touchdowns in an aerial display of pinpoint accuracy and passing efficiency, and added a spectacular Heisman moment on a daring flip that set up his own score at the 1-yard line. Bradford’s signature play came on an eight-yard scramble late in the third quarter with the Sooners down 30-26 and their airborne quarterback showed his team and the Sooner Nation he wasn’t leaving Stillwater with a loss that night.
Oklahoma - 61, Oklahoma State - 41
November 27, 2010 - Landry Lights It Up Late
In the final three minutes of the 2010 matchup, sophomore Landry Jones threw two clutch touchdown passes — one for 86 yards to Cameron Kenney and the other for 76 yards to James Hanna — to seal what may have been arguably the most entertaining game in series history. An eventful and zany fourth quarter saw Jones at his best, calling audibles at the line and throwing lasers all over the field.
The Sooners and Cowboys combined for 40 fourth-quarter points, with Oklahoma scoring 23 of them, as Jones went 37-of-62 passing for 468 yards and four touchdowns to pace OU to the hard-fought victory as a road underdog.
Oklahoma - 47, Oklahoma State - 41
December 7, 2013 - Saved by the Bell
The Belldozer entered the 2013 game in Stillwater after the Sooners top two QBs, Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson, both went down with injury, and put on a show in the air to seal an improbable comeback win. After Oklahoma State’s cornerback Justin Gilbert was unable to come down with what would’ve been a game-clinching interception with under a minute to play, Bell went to work with his Sooner Magic. With less than 25 seconds left in the game, the former short-yardage run specialist found Jalen Saunders in the corner of the end zone for a picturesque go-ahead score. The Sooners went on to win 33-24 and spoil the Cowboys’ chance at back-to-back Big 12 titles.
Earlier in the same, wild game, this also happened...
Former walk-on wide receiver/place holder Grant Bothun and kicker Michael Hunnicutt connected on this go-big-or-go-home playcall from Bob Stoops to give the Sooners life. With OU struggling and down a touchdown late in the third quarter on that cold, cold day in Stillwater, the riverboat gambler Bobby Stoops called this fake field goal that was executed to perfection by his unlikely heroes. The eight-yard touchdown catch tied the game at 17, and we all know how the game ultimately turned out.
Oklahoma - 33, Oklahoma State - 24
November 28, 2015 - Baker’s Serving Pancakes
The legend of Baker Mayfield had begun long before this moment but perhaps no play exemplifies the record-setting quarterback’s football personality than this play: the block heard ‘round Oklahoma. On the Sooners’ second long touchdown run of the night, Mayfield threw a mammoth block that sprung Joe Mixon 66 yards flying downfield.
Though this game was hardly ever in doubt after the second quarter when OU broke the game open, the run game was not to be stopped, and it’s not hard to see why after seeing plays like this. Mayfield finished with an efficient 180 yards on 17-25 passing as well as three total touchdowns and the most unexpected pancake of the year. Bravo, Baker. Bravo.
Oklahoma - 58, Oklahoma State - 23