Bedlam, indeed: Oklahoma State outlasts Oklahoma 37-33 in Big 12 epic

·3 min read

On a weekend when Michigan and Washington State snapped long rivalry game losing streaks, Oklahoma State did not want to be left out of the party.

The seventh-ranked Cowboys outlasted No. 10 Oklahoma, 37-33, in a wild edition of the Bedlam series that lived up to its nickname. The lead changed hands multiple times in a thrilling second half, but it was Oklahoma State that emerged victorious to snap a six-game losing streak to Oklahoma and keep its College Football Playoff hopes alive.

On top of that, Oklahoma State — now 11-1 on the year — eliminated Oklahoma from both Big 12 title and CFP contention with Saturday night’s triumph in Stillwater.

Oklahoma, which dropped to 10-2 with the loss, had won six consecutive conference titles. Because of Saturday night’s result, Oklahoma State now will get the chance to win its first Big 12 title since 2011 when it faces No. 8 Baylor next weekend at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

That Big 12 title game could be the game that vaults Oklahoma State into the College Football Playoff.

But before we look too far ahead, proper credence needs to be given to Saturday night’s result.

Oklahoma State overcomes mistakes, gets clutch stops in the end

Oklahoma State held the lead for much of the first half, but a late second-quarter interception thrown by Spencer Sanders allowed Oklahoma to tie the score at 24-24 before the half. That mistake was a sign of things to come, but the mistakes would come from both sides.

In the first five minutes of the third quarter, Oklahoma State would fumble the ball deep in its own territory for a safety and then muff a punt for an Oklahoma touchdown. Those gaffes put Oklahoma ahead 33-24 with 10:36 left in the third.

Later in the third, Sanders threw another interception. But Oklahoma State kept fighting.

The defense held strong, and Sanders would break loose for a 37-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to cut Oklahoma’s lead to 33-31.

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders looks for a receiver duriong the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders looks for a receiver duriong the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oklahoma, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Stillwater, Okla. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Not long after, disaster would strike for Oklahoma. The Sooners returned the favor when Eric Gray muffed a punt inside his own 10-yard line and OSU recovered. Three plays later, Oklahoma State’s Jaylen Warren scored the go-ahead touchdown, giving the Cowboys a 37-33 lead with 8:54 remaining.

From there, OSU held on for dear life.

After the Warren touchdown. Oklahoma would get three more tries on offense. The first resulted in a punt. The next two came in the game’s final minutes and the Oklahoma State defense — one of the nation’s best — came through with the stops it needed.

First, Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams was tripped up just short on a fourth-and-10 scramble from the Oklahoma State 39-yard line. 

Williams, Oklahoma's five-star freshman, had been extending plays with his legs all night. On the next drive with under a minute to play, he broke loose for a 56-yard run all the way to the Oklahoma State 24. 

From there, with under 30 seconds to play, Williams and the Sooners had four tries to potentially take the lead. The first three resulted in incomplete passes. And on the fourth try, Oklahoma State defensive end Collin Oliver came crashing off the edge and sacked Williams with eight seconds remaining. 

At that moment, the faithful in Stillwater were finally able to exhale and celebrate a momentous victory.