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10 Thoughts on Bedlam 2014

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One of the worst parts of running this blog is that I have to regain control of my arms and hands and fingers after something like whatever it is that I just watched and type words into a machine while pretending like I don’t just want to do laps around the DFW metroplex in only a pair of OSU shorts and a throwback Joe Adkins jersey.

But such is life and here we are.

AND OH YEAH THAT WAS THE MOST FUN I’VE HAD WATCHING AN OKLAHOMA STATE FOOTBALL GAME SINCE 2011.

WE RETURNED A PUNT 92 YARDS WITH 50 SECONDS LEFT TO TIE THE GAME AS A 20-POINT UNDERDOG AND THEN BEAT THE PRESEASON NO. 1 TEAM IN THE COUNTRY IN OVERTIME ON A CHIP SHOT FIELD GOAL AND YES YOU WATCHED THAT, IT HAPPENED.

I WATCHED IT TOO, I CAN’T BELIEVE IT BUT MY DVR TELLS ME IT WAS A REAL THING THAT TOOK PLACE.

And man what a difference five days makes. Five days ago the sky was falling (and hey, maybe it still is) but now OSU is bowling and Gundy did the thing he’s never done (won in Norman) with a third-string QB and a shoestring defense on the fast-as-lightning back of No. 24.

In so many ways it was so perfect.

I thought with three minutes left that Mason Rudolph had thrown Bedlam away (literally, to OU) and once again I’d been hoodwinked, for what felt like the 1,000th time, into thinking that OSU had a shot of beating Bob Stoops.

It felt like 2008 and 2010 and 2012 and 2013 all wrapped up in one big fat Bedlam poop sandwich.

But then Stoops decided to re-punt to Tyreek Hill after a running into the kicker call and yes I experienced temporary paralysis…

Here’s the audio from Dave Hunziker. And the audio from the broadcast. My favorite line? “92 yards of history from Tyreek Hill!”

It was the exact opposite of what I’ve been conditioned to believe Bedlam should feel like. It was all of the emotions of 30 years of Bedlam woe (and only seven wins) wrapped up in one 92-yard dance.

Tyreek said he cried.

I think a lot of other folks did, too.

But then I knew Blake Bell was going to return the kickoff or kick an 88-yard field goal or literally invent a way to win a game that had never been invented before with 45 seconds left and…he didn’t!

We were going to overtime! Moneycutt missed left (badly)! Grogan made it! I am overcome with emotion. Real emotion!

[Can I be honest here for a second?]

You can get beat down doing this blog and writing about people you’ll never meet (kids!) and Gundy was such a jerk to everybody this week and there’s so much that goes along with it and it becomes not as fun as it used to be but for 10 minutes on a Saturday night I felt real emotions about Oklahoma State and Tyreek Hill and Bedlam and all of it.

It was pure jubilation — I loved every single second of it. It wasn’t 2011 but in some ways it was more unique. 2011 was a foregone conclusion early which is always good when OU is involved but this was something different.

It was a beaten-down team trying to salvage something it knew it should have already attained. It was, for a few minutes, bigger than football, bigger than this season, bigger than the Gundy tenure. It was a moment in time — maybe the most special Bedlam moment I’ve ever witnessed.

It made grown adult males cry.

It was my wife walking in after a long, strange day for both of us and just laughing at each other at what had just happened.

Honestly, it was just the coolest thing I’ve watched in sports in a long, long time.

1. Guys, Mason Rudolph

I know he wasn’t perfect — that fourth-quarter INT was not good — but he was strong. You don’t just waltz into Norman as a 20-point underdog and walk away with a W as QB1 if you don’t have a little “eff you” to you.

He was sharp all night and finished 19/35 for 273 and two TDs despite multiple dropped deep passes.

His check downs are what impresses me most. He’s not scared to run through a two or three-receiver progression and hit the guy who’s open or throw it way if nobody’s there.

That’s something we haven’t had since No. 3 left his cleats on the turf in Glendale.

I’m all in on Rudolph for the rest of his career and thankfully it’s going to be tough for Gundy to bench the dude who got him his first win in Norman…ever.[1. Not that I’m down on JW — I think he’s the best backup in the country — but No. 10 has to be the guy.]

Contributor to the blog (and former OSU receiver) Justin Southwell and I were texting during the game and he noted how good Rudolph’s pocket presence was. He bailed himself out so many time and kept plays alive that had no business being alive. Again, this was his second game.

My favorite part of all of it was that Gundy said in his on-field post-game interview that 10 wanted to throw it on third down in overtime when OSU called timeout which Gundy said was insane (it was). But it also would have been amazing.

Let all of the Reindeer jokes flow. Stillwater is his tonight (and until 2018).

2. Speaking of drops…

It was well-documented that receiver was a strongpoint of this team but tonight was just brutal. That Blake Jarwin drop I embedded above was excusable because the ball was tipped but what about this from Glidden?

I really thought OSU could have been in a better spot than it was late in the game if not for multiple poor plays from what was supposed to be the meat of a pretty average team.

3. The game hinged on Perine’s injury

I really felt bad for No. 32 getting injured and exiting stage left in the third quarter.

He was doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted to do it but you could tell OU was riding him really hard.

They trust Cody Thomas about as much as I trust my one-year-old with a pair of scissors and a live copper wire snaking across the living room so for 32 to go out was pretty much the end of their offensive efficiency.

I don’t want to say OSU won because he got hurt but it certainly helped things. Cody Thomas looked more lost than Travis Ford at a convention of basketball coaches drawing up plays and as good and Ross and Ford are, they’re still only about 85 percent of what Perine is by himself.

Note the fear in Ramon Richards at trying to tackle him:

4. Stoops’ really bad decision

I just want to give a little shout out to Jordan Sterns for running into Jed Barnett with a minute left and giving OU the option to re-punt to Tyreek.

It turned out to be a bad one (as OSU’s Twitter account (!!) made sure to note):

And Stoops even admitted after the game he regretted the decision.

At the time I wasn’t thinking much about it. OU had only given up 81 yards of punt return yardage on the season so it didn’t seem like an absurd move. But Tyreek got that and a little bit more in about 10 seconds.

5. Brandon Sheperd was a beast

Here’s a list of the OSU receivers since 2000 who have had 150+ yard receiving days coupled with two or more touchdowns:

Justin Blackmon (6x)
Dez Bryant (4x)
Isaiah Anderson (1x)
Josh Stewart (1x)
Adarius Bowman (1x)
D’Juan Woods (1x)
Brandon Sheperd (1x)
Rashaun Woods (3x)

That’s some good company to keep if you’re Sheperd and as Southwell pointed out, he who knew he would be the best Sheperd in Bedlam this year?!

6. OSU got defense when it needed to

This dovetails with the Perine injury but you can’t take away the fact that OSU’s defense showed up when it was called upon. Here’s a look at OU’s second-half (and overtime) drive chart:

Fumble
Punt
Punt
Touchdown
Punt
Punt
Punt
Turnover on downs
Missed FG
Bye.

Gundy said he got after his defense in the locker room and it was pretty clear in the second half that it worked. OU only gained 156 yards in the second half plus overtime.

7. Bowl eligibility is bigger than you think

I know this sounds absurd but OSU is bowl eligible now and that’s sort of a big deal with a freshman quarterback. CBS Sports and ESPN have Washington penciled in for the Cactus Bowl which is likely where OSU is headed.

I wrote about it a lot here but this win is so much bigger than OSU just finishing 6-6 with a win over a backup QB for OU. It means a bump in recruiting, a new projection for Mason Rudolph’s career, and a totally new attitude for OSU fans going into 2015.

Especially if we thump a Pac-12 team in Arizona in early January.

8. Best Bedlam play ever?

Was Tyreek’s punt return the greatest Bedlam play (from an OSU standpoint) you can remember? I think this is a fair question.

A few people texted me about this as well and the only two I could think of that made me as excited as the Tyreek punt return are Rashaun’s catch in 2001 and Gilbert’s kick return in 2010.[1. I almost died watching this one live, by the way.]

I’m young, though, and more than willing to admit that I don’t have a strong rolodex of Bedlam plays at my disposal (probably because there haven’t been that many) but I’m willing to put forth that this is at least in the conversation for the greatest Oklahoma State play in Bedlam history.

Which I truly can’t believe I’m writing.

9. I can’t write it any better than Desmond can say it

This from somebody whose mom died in the last month is just the best. Man.

10. All of this is almost too much to process

Usually the 10 thoughts come pretty easily to me. I make some Mike Yurcich jokes, go on about my love for Tyreek and big-armed QBs and then pop in a movie with my wife or catch the end of a 7-5 Big 10 game but tonight was actually pretty difficult.

There’s just so much to process here. From the massive Gundy storyline to Rudolph probably sliding into the QB1 position for the next 3+ years to the Perine injury to the fact that OSU hasn’t won Bedlam in Norman since 2001 (!) to that sweet, sweet game-winner from Grogan.

It was a lot.

For all the analyzation that will be done over the next few days and weeks about what happened in Norman on that December 6th night, remember this:

We beat OU in Norman as a 20-point underdog with a true freshman starting his second game while Mike Gundy under more scrutiny than the president of the United States.

Who cares about dropped passes and cover-two defenses and what the yards per play or points per drive numbers were.

You can throw all of that out because down seven with 50 seconds left Oklahoma State came back and stuck it to OU in overtime in their house.

We still owe them about 65 more of these but what a sweet night of sports.

What a sweet, sweet night of watching sports.

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