It’s called Bedlam for a reason.
And it was Bedlam at its best Saturday, as the annual rivalry game between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Oklahoma State Cowboys was a see-saw affair that went right down to the wire in an NCAA football thriller.
In the end, the No. 6 Sooners (9-1) kept their hopes of returning to the College Football Playoff with a 48-47 nailbiter over their arch-rivals.
But it wasn’t a clean contest, by any stretch, staged by home-side Oklahoma.
“We didn’t have our best,” Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley told ESPN’s Todd McShay post-game. “And Oklahoma State, give them credit — they played fantastic.”
Right up until the end, in fact, as Riley’s crew survived only after a missed two-point convert gamble by the Cowboys (5-5) on the game’s final scoring attempt in Norman, Okla.
An onside kick bid then failed, and Oklahoma gained a first down and was able to run out the clock in the 113th edition of Bedlam.
The Sooners also benefitted from a missed kick convert by the Cowboys after their first touchdown of the fourth quarter that would’ve given the visitors a one-point advantage.
“The defence made big plays, but we’ve certainly got to play better,” Riley said. “We gave up some big ones early … then we made some huge plays defensively, forced a fumble and stopped a two-point play.”
Indeed, the Cowboys rolled up 640 yards of real estate. Running back Chuba Hubbard, of Sherwood Park, Alta., ran for 104 yards on 22 carries and added 49 more yards on five receptions in the loss. QB Tyler Cornelius — who botched the late two-point convert attempt by throwing it well behind an open receiver in the endzone — racked up 501 yards through the air to go along with three TDs.
But Oklahoma found even more offence in the high-octane Big 12 rivalry. It hit for 702 total yards, with Heisman Trophy hopeful Kyler Murray, Oklahoma’s QB, passing for 349 yards and running for 66 more in the victory.
“We just found a way,” Riley added. “Offensively, we were bad in the third quarter but came back and found a way to win … so we’ve got to improve.”
It was the Sooners’ 15th straight game in the month of November, and — more importantly — keeps them in the mix to be one of the final-four teams in the CFP.
It’s a perfect 10 for No. 1 Alabama (10-0) as it smacked down No. 16 Mississippi State (6-4) 24-0 in the SEC game of the day. It was the first time ’Bama has shut out Top-25 programs in consecutive weeks, and the decision tied a school-record 24 straight wins at home. “The defence did a great job,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban told CBS. “We had a lot of respect for their offence and what they do. They had one explosive play.” The Mississippi State defence itself did hold QB Tua Tagovailoa and the ’Bama offence to just three points in the second half. “We didn’t have much rhythm on offence,” added Saban, who was coaching a No. 1-ranked program at the same school in an NCAA-best 72nd week. “First time we’ve had adversity on offence all year long, and you’ve got to learn how to respond to it, so this will be a good learning lesson for us.” … No. 2 Clemson (9-0) hoped to remain unbeaten in the chilly conditions against No. 17 Boston College (7-2) in a key ACC battle Saturday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass. … Florida State (4-5) faces its first losing season since 1976, legendary coach Bobby Bowden’s first year in Tallahassee, Fla., as it went up against No. 3 Notre Dame, which went into the pivotal home contest without starting QB Ian Book (rib) but looking oh-so-mint in cool green jerseys … No. 4 Michigan (9-1) made it nine straight victories easing by host Rutgers (1-9) 42-7 in Big Ten action … The 123rd meeting between No. 24 Auburn (6-3) and No. 5 Georgia (8-1) went late Saturday.
No. 7 LSU (7-2) played host Arkansas (2-7) in an SEC rivalry on Saturday evening … No. 8 Washington State (9-1) kept its long-shot bid alive for a spot in the CFP with a 31-7 take-down of host Colorado (5-5), as Wazzu’s Air Raid put up 346 yards through the air … QB Will Grier and No. 9 West Virginia (8-1) tore apart the tough defence of TCU (4-6) with 24 second-quarter points in a 47-10 triumph. Heisman Trophy hopeful Grier threw for 343 yards and three TDs … P Drue Chrisman and the punt-coverage unit proved to be the difference for No. 10 Ohio State (9-1) pinning No. 18 Michigan State (6-4) deep in its own territory all game long in a 26-6 Big Ten decision. Three fourth-quarter turnovers by Sparty, including one in its own endzone, led to 17 points late in what was a defensive hold-em affair … The upset of the day saw No. 11 Kentucky (7-3) drop the ball against host Tennessee (5-5) in a 24-7 SEC contest … No. 12 UCF (9-0) ran its amazing win streak to 22 with a 35-24 dump of visiting Navy (2-8).
Despite a middling record on the season, Northwestern (6-4) has won the Big Ten West title for the first time in school history. Its 14-10 rugged road win over No. 21 Iowa (6-4), thanks to a diving Bennett Showronek 32-yard TD late in the tilt, gives Northwestern a 6-1 conference record, and combined with losses by Wisconsin and Purdue, sews up that first ever division crown. “I’m so proud of these guys — we faced a ton of adversity this year,” Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald told FOX. “This is the best group of young men in the country. One goal is accomplished, but this isn’t the end. We’ve just got to keep pounding the rock.” QB Jack Coan made his second start of season for Wisconsin (6-4), but it didn’t go as planned in a 22-10 road loss to hobbled QB Trace McSorley and No. 20 Penn State (7-3). And Purdue (5-5) got pounded by host Minnesota (5-5) in a 41-10 shocker … In a Group of Five biggie Friday night, host Boise State (8-2) put a halt to the mighty run of No. 23 Fresno State (8-2) 24-17 thanks to two fourth-quarter TDs and shutout defence in that final frame … ESPN College GameDay celebrated 25th anniversary of taking the show on the road with a montage of memorable moments. Saturday football just isn’t Saturday football without it.
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