No. 14 Sooners, No. 22 Cowboys gear up for Bedlam
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) Get ready for a Bedlam rivalry with some sizzle.
An outright Big 12 title is back in play for No. 14 Oklahoma after first-place Kansas State suffered its first loss of the season, and even No. 22 Oklahoma State could claim a share of the conference crown after winning five of its last six games to climb back into the Top 25.
The Sooners (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) certainly can't afford to breathe a sigh of relief after quarterback Landry Jones and receiver Kenny Stills had huge performances to rescue them in a 50-49 shootout against West Virginia, which had the most yards ever by an Oklahoma opponent with 778.
Switching from wide receiver to running back, Tavon Austin set a school record with 344 yards rushing for a Mountaineers offense that had been struggling on the ground. And Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2) boasts the league's best run game, along with a third-string quarterback who's got the hot hand.
After two months of keeping his starting quarterback a secret, coach Mike Gundy even went as far as announced that Clint Chelf would take the first snap against the Sooners on Saturday in Norman.
``It's exciting but at the end of the day, it's just the next game that you've got to go win,'' said Chelf, who has won his first two career starts against West Virginia and then-No. 23 Texas Tech.
``It doesn't really matter who you're playing, you've got to go out and execute and play hard and hopefully come out with the win.''
Much like Oklahoma did in borrowing Oklahoma State's three-back ``diamond'' formation a couple years ago, the Cowboys took a page from the Sooners' playbook in unveiling a short-yardage running package with an alternate quarterback on Saturday. J.W. Walsh, who Gundy had ruled out with a season-ending knee injury four weeks ago, returned and ran for one touchdown and threw for another out of a jumbo set with an extra offensive lineman and three backs.
``It adds a whole `nother dynamic. To be able to do that and to mix up the offense, it just gives those guys a whole lot more to work on and allows us to be more successful and have a whole lot more productivity out there,'' Walsh said.
As if Oklahoma didn't have enough to worry about already on defense. Coach Bob Stoops acted as though he was OK with it after Baylor became the fourth team this season to surpass 200 yards against his defense. He admitted after an even bigger, record-setting outing by West Virginia that ``it eats at all of us'' and changes could be coming to the seven-defensive back package used the past two weeks.
``Definitely, some of it's what we're doing but some of it's also guys are in position and didn't make plays. When you miss a tackle, you miss a tackle and a guy goes for another 50 yards. You're doing the right things. You've just got to play better,'' Stoops said.
``So, it's on both of us. The players can play better in some instances and we can hopefully move them in better position in some instances, too.''
Defensive captain David King said he's not sure what's wrong ``but we can't make any plays, we can't get any pressure on the quarterback, can't tackle. Just all out, just poor defense.''
``It's embarrassing,'' added King, a defensive end. ``That's two weeks in a row that we have been exposed by high-powered offenses.
``It's all out there on tape now, so OSU's going to come in and try to expose us again for a third week.''
Oklahoma State holds the Bedlam bragging rights at the moment, having blown out the Sooners 44-10 in Stillwater last season to end an eight-game losing streak in the series and wrap up the team's first Big 12 title.
The Cowboys haven't won in Norman since 2001.
``Big game,'' said Jones, who broke his own school record with 554 yards passing and tied his own mark with six touchdown passes Saturday night.
``Final home game for the seniors. Final home game for myself, so obviously I'd love to go out there and I'd love to play to the best of my capabilities.''
AP Sports Writer John Raby contributed to this report from Morgantown, W.Va.