Since 1995 when R.W. McQuarters, Tony Jones and Bob Simmons brought their Cowboys down to Norman and ended OSU's 19-year "non-win" streak to OU, Bedlam has taken on a different meaning to Sooner fans. What once was a given, all of a sudden became games to fear. Games where, for some reason, Bob Stoops decides to re-kick, games where OSU overcomes a 13-6 deficit to upend Oklahoma's chance to repeat as National Champs.
Bedlam makes OU fans nervous, and every win brings not only a sense of relief and happiness punctuated by trash-talking that didn't exist when I was growing up. Any suggestion of Oklahoma State catching OU was usually met with Bob Stoop's ire.
With these things in mind, I wanted to look back at some of OU's brow wiping wins in Bedlam. This isn't a countdown - those have been overdone, and indeed on a list like that, 1988 would be the hands-down winner followed by 2012. Nah, we'll turn back the clock and re-live those moments that had you sweating things out till the outcome was decided and the Sooners were victorious.
1983: Marcus Dupree had mysteriously split from the Oklahoma Football team after a 28-16 shellacking by the Longhorns. The shorthanded and emotionally distraught Sooners trailed 20-3 in the fourth quarter. But OU would mount a comeback to cut the lead to 21-18. With 1:14 to go, OU was supposed to try an onside kick. To hear Tim Lasher tell the story, there was confusion from the sideline to the field. Lasher never knew exactly what Barry Switzer was trying to say to him, and somehow his kick bounced off Chris Rockins' helmet with the Sooners recovering the ball. Lasher would complete the OU comeback with a 46-yard field goal. 21-20 Sooners.
1988: This was supposed to be the year that Oklahoma State would end OU's win streak. Barry Sanders was on his way to the Heisman Trophy, and the Pokes looked like players in the Big 8, bringing a 6-1 record to Bedlam and laying waste to opponents as a team that had scored no less than 41 points in any game. The Sooners lost to USC earlier in the year, putting a National Championship in jeopardy, but a one-loss record with the Huskers still on the schedule could put OU in prime position to have a crack at Natty number seven.
Before the Sooners could get to the promised land, they had to deal with Pat Jones' Cowboys, who had not only Sanders but Mike Gundy, Hartley Dykes and one heck of an offensive line. The Sooners raced out 21-7 lead behind two Mike Gaddis touchdowns; the Pokes would climb back in the game on the legs of Sanders, eventually taking a 28-24 lead. Through what we will call Sooner Magic, quarterback Charles Thompson would get OU in the end zone on their final drive to take a 31-28 lead. Gundy had one last gasp to win it for the Pokes, but a pass in the end zone would glance off the shoulder of Brent Parker. OU would win, and both programs would see hard times in the coming years.
2003: This one was an absolute blowout that we should have seen coming. Oklahoma State had beaten OU two straight years, and 2001 they ended the Sooners hope of repeating as National Champions. Les Miles stoked the fires before the game saying "They're the best team..we're told." In Miles attempt to excite bedlam like a heavyweight fight, he just pissed off Bob Stoops. Lesson One: don't give Stoops a chance to pour it on, because that's precisely what he will do. Oklahoma ripped Oklahoma State 52-9. OSU ended the day with more punts than first downs and lost any chance of going to a BCS game. Renaldo Works rushed for 103 yards. OU would go on to punk Texas A&M 77-0 the next week, before routing Baylor and Texas Tech on their way to the Big 12 championship. Maybe not so much relief for Sooner fans as it was just getting back at OSU for the two years prior.
2012: Mike Gundy brought his Cowboys into Norman coming off their first Big 12 Championship. The Cowboys were looking to establish a little dominance in the series, just as Miles did in the early part of the century. Gundy's Pokes never trailed in this game - until the final play of overtime - an 18-yard Brennan Clay run that gave OU the 51-48 win. Cowboy running back Joseph Randell matched his career high with four touchdowns, Clint Chelf threw for 240 yards and ran for another 60. The Pokes even jumped out to a 14-point lead. But they couldn't hold it. QB Landry Jones threw for 500 yards, but Blake Bell was the hero, going Belldozer with four seconds left to tie the game at 45. OSU would settle for a Quinn Sharp field goal in the extra frame, and Clay would finish it on the second play of OU's overtime possession. Clay was mobbed by his teammates in the postgame, while fans celebrated in the stands and hugged people they had known for only a few hours.
2013: This game had it all: freezing temperatures, the Pokes fighting for their second Big 12 championship in three years, OU being forced to play three quarterbacks, the return of riverboat gambler Bob Stoops and an earthquake. If Blake Bell was the hero in 2012, in 2013 he became a full-on legend. The Cowboys were a 9 and a half point favorite. Trevor Knight, who had fought it out with Bell all season long, seemed to have secured the starting job at quarterback finally. Knight was hurt on a 3rd and goal late in the first half, and Kendall Thompson was poised to take over. Thompson came in and, on the first play of the second half, threw a pick that Clint Chelf would turn into a Desmond Roland 15 yard touchdown reception. OSU led 17-10. The Sooners would tie the game on a fake field goal as holder Grant Bothun would hit kicker Michael Hunnicut with an 8-yard pass, giving the Sooners a 20-17 lead. The Pokes would go up 24-20 after a seven play 89-yard drive that ended with a Desmond Roland Touchdown. Bell, in at QB, would answer with a 66-yard drive of his own that was capped by a 7-yard strike to Jalen Saunders.
The Sooners led 27-24 and Eric Striker would pour salt in the Pokes' wound by returning a fumble on the final play for a final score of 33-24 in OU's favor. The outcome angered Cowboy cheerleader Jarid Atkinson so much he stuck his foot out to trip Striker after the game.
OU would go on to beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and OSU would get their revenge the following year when Bob Stoops would re-kick.