2016 Bedlam Football | Could Special Teams Decide The Game?

Over the past five years, the Oklahoma Sooners and Oklahoma State Cowboys have clashed on the gridiron with post season implications on the line. In 2011, the folks from Stillwater hoped a 44-10 throttling would push the Cowboys into the BCS Title game. Repaying the favor in 2015, the crimson and cream clung to a 58-23 thrashing hoping for a higher seed in the College Football Playoff. Regardless of how the game plays out, special teams usually has a say in the outcome.

Some of the most memorable moments have come during a return. Such was the case in 2012. Trailing in a barn burner, the Sooners forced a punt from their in-state rival. Standing opposite of the nation’s best punter in Quinn Sharp, wide receiver Jalen Saunders waited patiently for a high spiraling kick. Dancing around for room, Saunders fielded the punt and proceeded 81-yards down field for a touchdown. Oklahoma would later convert on the two-point coversion tying the game at 38-38 in Norman. The touchdown served as a momentum builder leading to a 51-48 overtime victory for OU.

Heading to Stillwater the following season, momentum in the rivalry game once again swung on a dime. In 2013, Oklahoma State appeared to be the front-runner of the conference. Knotted up 10-10 at the half, Oklahoma fans once again prayed a bit of Sooner Magic. Down 17-10, the coaching staff drew up an unexpected fake field goal attempt. Not content to settle for yet another field goal, Grant Botham stood up with the snap tossing the ball to kicker Michael Hunnicutt. Walking backwards into the endzone, the touchdown signal was called. OU eventually won the game 33-24 in regulation.

In 2014, the Cowboys found themselves on the other side of the equation. Trailing with under a minute on the clock Tyreek Hill awaited the punt. With unrivaled speed, all he needed was a lane to run through. While the punt coverage of Oklahoma appeared to misread where the ball would land, Hill received exactly what the doctor ordered. Securing the ball, Hill ran in nearly a straight line for the entire 92-yard touchdown return. The score sent the game into overtime while OSU recorded a win in Norman.

Could special teams once again have a say in who wins this meeting?

Leave a Reply