The overlooked plays that decided Bedlam, and what they mean for OSU

The overlooked plays that decided Bedlam, and what they mean for OSU

Plenty of much-discussed plays helped decide the outcome of Bedlam, Let's not leave the overlooked plays out of the discussion.

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Nov 6, 2023, 6:03pm CST

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Nov 6, 2023, 6:03pm CST

STILLWATER — Some moments of Saturday’s bedlam game have been overanalyzed. 

Discussion of the non-call pass interference on Drake Stoops in the fourth quarter, Stoops’ route not reaching the sticks on fourth down and Dillon Gabriel’s two fumbled snaps set social media ablaze Saturday. There are still embers smoldering on talk radio the Monday after as those memorable moments are dissected.

Let’s not leave the overlooked plays out of the discussion. Here are the not-as-talked-about plays that decided Bedlam and what they mean for OSU. 

Rashod Owens’ one-handed catch:

When: 13:23 left in the first quarter. First-and-10 from the OSU 40. 

What it looked like: Quarterback Alan Bowman pulled a handoff from the belly of running back Ollie Gordon and rose up to throw a short post route to Owens. The pass was high and slightly behind, so Owens stuck his right arm in the air, batting the ball to himself. He secured the deflection with two hands for a 14-yard gain and a first down. 

Impact: Instead of defensive back Gentry Williams getting a chance at an interception, OSU continued its march down the field. Four plays later, OSU scored a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.

What it means: Owens started this season as a third-stringer and is now creating highlights in OSU’s most important games. He continues to consistently produce and isn’t going away as the Cowboys make a run at the Big 12 Championship.

Hudson Kaak’s punt downed at the 2-yard line:

When: 7:54 left in the first quarter. Fourth-and-eight from the OU 46.

What it looked like: Kaak stook 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage and punted a low kick that took a horizontal bounce at the 3-yard line. Running back Jaden Nixon was the gunner on the right side. His momentum took him into the end zone but he circled around three-yards deep and dove on the ball. His feet were in the orange turf, but the ball was downed at the 2-yard line.

Impact: The Sooners had plays of 49 and 15 yards on the ensuing drive, but because they were backed up, reached only the OSU 34-yard line before fumbling.

What it means: Pro Football Focus ranks OSU’s special teams No. 3 nationally, and it just helped them win a meaningful game. 

Photo gallery: Bedlam 2023 in pictures

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Alan Bowman’s rushing touchdown: 

When: 15:00 left in the second quarter. Second-and-11 from the OU 13.

What it looked like: The Sooners lined up with four defensive linemen, two linebackers and two high safeties in the middle of the field. The safeties and linebackers backpedaled at the snap. Ollie Gordon fled the backfield and acted as a lead blocker in a designed quarterback run. Bowman quickly dropped the pretense of a pass and planted his back foot, following Gordon into the end zone. 

Impact: OSU cashed in on the Gabriel fumble, taking a 14-7 lead. 

What it means: The play is Bowman’s second rushing touchdown of the season, the other a 12-yard score at Iowa State. It is a possibility opponents will have to at least consider when the Cowboys are in the red zone. 

Nic Anderson dropped pass:

When: 1:43 left in the second quarter. Third-and-seven from the OU 33. OSU leading 17-14. 

What it looked like: Sooner receiver Nic Anderson ran straight up to corner D.J. McKinney. As they collided, Anderson wiggled left and down the sideline, creating two steps of separation. Gabriel was pressured from his right by linebacker Collin Oliver, but still managed to lay a pass on target at the OSU 30-yard line. The ball bounced off Anderson’s left forearm as he fell forward, falling incomplete. 

Impact: Anderson scored eight touchdowns coming into the game and should have had nine, or at least set the Sooners up with a golden chance to take the lead before half. Instead, the Sooners punted. 

What it means: OSU’s young cornerbacks made the plays to win at the end of the game, but still have flaws begging to be exploited. 

Xavier Benson tackles Stoops for a six-yard loss:

When: 4:34 left in the second quarter. 3rd-and-8 from the OSU 27. OSU leading 17-14. 

What it looked like: Sooner receiver Drake Stoops motions from the right slot to the left. He catches a swing pass at the 34-yard line, seven yards behind the line of scrimmage. OSU linebacker Xavier Benson blows up a block from senior tight end Austin Stogner to get to Stoops and make the tackle for a loss of six.

Impact: Instead of kicking a 45-yard field goal, OU kicker Zach Schmit had to kick from 51. His kick missed wide right, nearly shaving the upright. Had the same kick been from 45 yards, it would have been good and the Sooners would have tied the game at 17.

What it means: Gundy talked before the game about stopping OU’s side-to-side passing attack. His defensive coaching staff and players were prepared for it in a big moment.

Alan Bowman forces Billy Bowman out of bounds after interception:

When: 14:43 left in the fourth quarter. First-and-10 from the OU 28. OU winning 21-17

What it looked like: The wildest sequence of Bedlam started with a pitch back to running back Ollie Gordon. Sooner linebacker Dasan McCullough penetrated and forced Gordon to his left while defensive linemen Rondell Bothroyd covered quarterback Alan Bowman, who was supposed to get a pass back. Gordon threw a high pass behind receiver Brennan Presley and it was intercepted by Billy Bowman. Bowman caught the ball at the 3-yard line and reversed field to his left, beating two OSU linemen to the edge. With a convoy of blockers, Billy Bowman had to just get around Alan Bowman for a touchdown. Billy tried a stutter-step juke that Alan ignored, shoving him out at the 45.

Impact: A pick-six would have given the Sooners a 28-17 lead with about 14 minutes to play. The Sooner offense stalled after four plays and punted back to the Cowboys. 

What it means: Alan Bowman said after the game he came to OSU to win a Big 12 championship. He put his body on the line for that goal, and because of his effort, the Cowboys are a step closer to Arlington. 

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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben_ Hutchens_ on social media.

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