No. 18 Oklahoma 33, No. 6 Oklahoma State 24
Oklahoma’s players scoffed at the notion earlier this week that they had been reduced to the role of spoiler against rival Oklahoma State.
Led by quarterback Blake Bell’s remarkable performance in a relief role, the Sooners lived up to their words — continuing their mastery of the rival Cowboys on Saturday.
The win set off a frenzied celebration in a frigid Boone Pickens Stadium for visiting Oklahoma (10-2, 7-2 Big 12), while leaving Oklahoma State once again suffering a bitter defeat at the hands of its fiercest rival.
This level of disappointment was higher than most for the Cowboys (10-2, 7-2), whose hopes of a second Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game berth in three years were lost after Bell found Jalen Saunders for a 7-yard touchdown with 19 seconds remaining.
“You just love it to see a guy who’s a competitor like that, who’s been sitting on the bench all game, to come in and play so well,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Bell. “He played great.”
The shakeup in the BCS bowl picture, however, was the last thing on the mind of Bell — the Oklahoma junior who replaced injured starter Trevor Knight in the second half. After starting eight games earlier this season for the Sooners, including a win at Notre Dame, Bell began Saturday as Oklahoma’s third option at quarterback.
He ended the game by leading the Sooners on a game-winning 66-yard drive in the closing minutes, going 5-of-8 for 57 yards on the drive and finishing 10-of-16 passing for 140 yards in relief of Knight and backup quarterback Kendal Thompson
“I was just thinking that whenever I got my opportunity, I wanted to do the best I could with Trevor going down and Kendal coming in,” Bell said. “... Once I got into the rhythm of the play, I felt like everything was clicking.”
Oklahoma State led for much of the game, only falling behind for the first time early in the fourth quarter when Oklahoma’s Michael Hunnicutt kicked a 39-yard field goal to put the Sooners up 20-17.
Facing a late-game deficit, quarterback Clint Chelf appeared to rally the Cowboys for the win with a 7-play, 89-yard drive on which he completed five consecutive passes for first downs.
Desmond Roland, who finished with 144 yards rushing and accounted for three touchdowns, capped the drive to put Oklahoma State up 24-20 with 1:46 remaining — appearing to secure the Cowboys’ eighth straight win as well as the Big 12 title and BCS game berth.
Bell, however, had other plans. The junior, who started earlier this season before losing the job to Knight, rallied the Sooners down the field, capping the drive with his touchdown pass to Saunders in the corner of the end zone.
No. 9 Baylor 30, No. 23 Texas 10
Bryce Petty and Baylor closed out their old stadium with quite a fiesta.
In what became a de facto Big 12 championship game after Oklahoma State’s loss, Petty threw for 287 yards with touchdown passes on the first drives after halftime and the Bears won the their first title in the league with a convincing victory over Texas on Saturday.
The Bears (11-1, 8-1 Big 12), who never even had a winning record in the Big 12 before coach Art Briles arrived six years ago, have the first 11-win season in school history and are headed to the Fiesta Bowl. That is the reward for their first outright title in any league since winning the Southwest Conference on 1980 when Mike Singletary called Floyd Casey Stadium home.
Antwan Goodley made a nifty one-handed grab on a slant pass for an 11-yard TD, one play after Petty overthrew his wide-open tight end at the goal line. After Texas (8-4, 7-2) went three-and-out, Lache Seastrunk had three consecutive runs for 28 yards and Glasco Martin ran 10 yards to help set up Petty’s 6-yard TD pass to Levi Norwood and a 17-3 lead.
Petty finished 21-of-37, with Goodley catching eight of those for 114 yards. Martin rushed for 102 yards with 18-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
No. 15 UCF 17, SMU 13
Blake Bortles and Central Florida had to move its championship celebration inside. Not that a brutally cold Saturday in Dallas affected them too much.
Bortles threw for 242 yards and ran for two touchdowns, and the Knights celebrated a BCS bid already in hand by adding the outright American Athletic Conference title to the mix.
The victory over Southern Methodist came in front of just a few hundred fans who braved the slick roads of a nasty ice storm.
The Knights (11-1, 8-0 AAC) set a school record with their eighth win in row.
UCF wrapped up the conference’s automatic BCS bid when Louisville beat Cincinnati on Thursday. This is the school’s second 11-win season.
SMU (5-7, 4-4) saw its record bowl streak end at four seasons in the coldest home game in school history — 24 degrees at kickoff.
Irish in Pinstripe Bowl
Notre Dame officially accepted an invitation to the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28. The Irish (8-4) will be in their fourth bowl in a row and will play an American Athletic Conference foe.