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Oklahoma's recovery effort nearly complete

Sooners overcome early-season hardships and clinch a spot in the Big 12 championship game with a 27-21 victory over Oklahoma State.

November 26, 2006|From the Associated Press

STILLWATER, OKLA. — After a costly controversy and a Red River loss, Oklahoma seemed to be down and out. But look at the Sooners now, back on top and playing for a berth in the Bowl Championship Series.

Allen Patrick ran for 163 yards and a touchdown to help No. 13 Oklahoma survive another Bedlam scare and win the Big 12 Conference South title with a 27-21 victory against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

The Sooners' run to the title started immediately after a loss to Texas in October, and six of the team's seven straight wins have come without star tailback Adrian Peterson.

"We've overcome a lot, but we knew we could get here," quarterback Paul Thompson said. "We knew we had the guys, the personnel to get here, especially after the changes we made and we saw what we had in our replacements."

Patrick gave Oklahoma, 10-2 overall and 7-1 in the conference, a two-touchdown lead with a 65-yard run on the opening play of the second half, and the Cowboys (6-6, 3-5) couldn't quite finish a comeback despite three straight three-and-outs by the Sooners down the stretch.

After getting the ball back with 1:38 left, backup quarterback Zac Robinson guided Oklahoma State to the Sooners' 25-yard line in the final minute. But his desperation throw to D'Juan Woods on the final play sailed high and incomplete.

"The last play, we knew they were going to throw a Hail Mary. Somebody had to get it," said Oklahoma cornerback Lendy Holmes, who got a piece of the ball and prevented Oklahoma State from pulling a Bedlam upset for the third time in six years.

The Cowboys knocked Oklahoma out of the national title picture in 2001 and then did it again in 2002 with a 38-28 upset.

Not this time. Now, the Sooners earned a spot in next week's Big 12 title game against Nebraska.

Peterson, still out because of a broken collarbone, rushed onto the field and leaped into the arms of defensive end C.J. Ah You in celebration. Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said it was "doubtful" that Peterson would play against Nebraska next week, but then relented and questioned why he'd given that assessment before doctors reexamined Peterson.

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