Oklahoma Sooners: Brodrick Brown

Top 5 moments: Blake Bell's Bedlam TD

December, 13, 2012
SoonerNation is counting down the top five moments of Oklahoma’s 2012 season this week.

Play No. 2

[+] EnlargeBlake Bell
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesBlake Bell (10) helped give Bedlam an exciting conclusion.
Never was there a more important Belldozer conversion. The Sooners needed a touchdown to send Bedlam to overtime, but faced fourth-and-1 from the Oklahoma State 4. Only a few seconds remained.

Even though Landry Jones had steered the Sooners down the field on 16 plays, offensive coordinator Josh Heupel called for Blake Bell and the Belldozer.

On the counter left, Bell followed blockers Aaron Ripkowski and Trey Millard. But neither saw OSU linebacker Caleb Lavey knifing through. Three yards behind the line of scrimmage, Lavey seemed to have a clear shot at Bell.

"I thought that we had him in the backfield,” OSU coach Mike Gundy would say afterward.

But Bell – known for trucking defenders – used a stutter-step that caused Lavey to dive past him. Bell then trucked OSU cornerback Brodrick Brown into the end zone. The game-tying touchdown sent the game to overtime, where the Sooners prevailed 51-48 on Brennan Clay’s 18-yard touchdown run.

“Oklahoma State. 10 seconds left. Fourth-and-1,” Bell said. “That's why I came here to the University of Oklahoma. To play games like this.”

Film review: OU 51, OSU 48 

November, 25, 2012
Many Sooners called it one of the best games of their careers. Others called it special. No matter what words are chosen to describe Bedlam, one thing is certain. This year's Bedlam was unlike any other.

Oklahoma knocked off Oklahoma State, 51-48, in overtime at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on Saturday to keep the Sooners' Big 12 championship hopes alive. Several big plays changed the game but here are five critical plays that helped decide Bedlam.

[+] EnlargeJalen Saunders
William Purnell/Icon SMIAfter missing the first few games of the season, Jalen Saunders has provided a spark for the Sooners.
Jamarkus McFarland’s first-down stop after OU’s turnover on downs

Five storylines: OSU vs. Oklahoma 

November, 21, 2012
1. Can OSU win in Norman?

With all the success he’s had during his career in Stillwater, Mike Gundy is still searching for his first win in Norman, Okla. as a head coach. And OU coach Bob Stoops is 5-1 against the Cowboys during his tenure.

During the Cowboys' last trip to Norman in 2009, they appeared to have their best chance of giving Gundy his first win with the Sooners playing a makeshift offensive line in the midst of a disappointing 8-5 season.

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Scouting OSU: Winning the trenches 

November, 20, 2012
Oklahoma State's quarterback situation has been ripe with unrest this season. Nonetheless, the Cowboys are on a roll when they travel to Norman, Okla., for Bedlam against Oklahoma on Saturday. OSU has scored 50 points in back-to-back games and boasts double-digit wins over West Virginia, TCU, Iowa State and Texas Tech -- all while playing three quarterbacks. Last week, the Pokes dominated the Red Raiders with a 59-21 victory. SoonerNation reviewed the game and came away with three keys to watch during Bedlam.

[+] EnlargeJoseph Randle
Mark D. Smith/US PresswireOklahoma State's Joseph Randle has rushed for1,099 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Stopping the Pokes' running game

While there has been plenty of attention on the Cowboys quarterbacks and their success, running back Joseph Randle's excellence has been the foundation of the offense. The junior running back brings versatility, toughness and big-play ability to the table. He’s not Tavon Austin, but he presents problems of his own.

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Sooners schedule preview: Oklahoma St. 

August, 21, 2012
November 24, 2012: Oklahoma State
2011 record: 12-1 | 2011 conference record: 8-1 (Big 12)
OU’s all-time against Oklahoma State: 82-17-7

Top returners: RB Joseph Randle, FB Kye Staley, WR Josh Stewart, WR Tracy Moore, OG Lane Taylor, DT Nigel Nicholas, LB Shaun Lewis, LB Alex Elkins, CB Brodrick Brown, CB Justin Gilbert, S Daytawion Lowe, P/K Quinn Sharp

Key losses: QB Brandon Weeden, WR Justin Blackmon, WR Josh Cooper, C Grant Garner, RT Levy Adcock, DE Jamie Blatnick, DE Richetti Jones, S Markelle Martin

2011 statistical leaders (*returners)
Rushing: Joseph Randle* (1,1193 yards)
Passing: Brandon Weeden (4,328 yards)
Receiving: Justin Blackmon (1,336 yards)
Tackles: Daytawion Lowe* (97)
Sacks: Jamie Blatnick (8)
Interceptions: Justin Gilbert*, Brodrick Brown* (5)

What they’re saying: "Our facilities gave us a chance a number of years ago. We've had tremendous continuity with our coaching staff. We had a plan and we were able to stick with it, particularly in recruiting and our thought process and how we wanted to approach it, the type of young men we were looking for, try to be very detailed in how they fit in our style of play and what kind of character they had and whether football and graduation and things that we think would contribute to success was really important to that particular player. And sustaining it, again, it comes down to recruiting and having quality people in our organization.” – head coach Mike Gundy

Three things to watch:

1. The Oklahoma State Cowboys went from having the oldest starting quarterback in college football to one of the youngest. All eyes will be on true freshman Wes Lunt, who won the starting job in the spring. Lunt figures to go through growing pains. But whether the Cowboys can be viable Big 12 title contenders depends on how fast he grows up.

2. There may not be a better corner duo in the country than Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown. Physical and fast, Gilbert and Brown will allow defensive coordinator Bill Young to focus the rest of his defense on stuffing the run. If they play up to their potential, OSU might have its best defense in 15 years.

3. Who will be OSU’s primary pass-catcher now that Justin Blackmon is gone? The Cowboys don’t have a lot of production returning at receiver with Josh Cooper also gone. Then again, nobody had heard of Blackmon two years ago when the Cowboys were trying to replace Dez Bryant.

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Colleague KC Joyner took to ranking the nation's top two secondaries Insider, but there's a pair of surprising teams at the top.

The SEC is the league with the defensive reputation, but the nation's top two teams, Alabama and LSU, both finished below Texas and Oklahoma State, who Joyner says are the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 secondaries.

Both of them are outstanding, but even I was surprised to see those two atop the list.

For both teams, it starts with eye-popping duos at cornerback.

For Texas, it's Carrington Byndom and Quandre Diggs. At Oklahoma State, Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown are the guys stopping receivers on the outside.

All four may make a case by season's end as the Big 12's best cornerback, but according to Joyner, they're the backbones of the nation's top two secondaries.

Joyner is also a believer in Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, who racked up 82 tackles and keeping opposing receivers from gaining more than four yards per pass attempt.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State's Gilbert stuck out to Joyner as the best cornerback in college football last season. His five picks and 5.2 yards per attempt suggest that's the case. He also broke up or intercepted 20 passes, second-most in college football.

Those aren't the only two Big 12 teams on Joyner's list.

What about Oklahoma? The Sooners check in at No. 8, with a nice trio of their own in Tony Jefferson, Aaron Colvin and Demontre Hurst.

Joyner reminds that even though the secondary faltered in high-profile losses to Baylor and Texas Tech, the same unit allowed a passer rating of under 106 in eight games.

Now, new coordinator Mike Stoops is in town to give the Sooners a boost in the secondary. The Sooners lost cornerback Jamell Fleming, but Fleming's 9.2 yards per attempt give Joyner reason to believe the loss will result in addition by subtraction.

I'm not so sure about that, but ultimately, the season will tell.

Are you a believer in the Cowboys and Longhorns as the nation's top two secondaries? What about the Sooners? Too high? Too low?

STILLWATER, Okla. -- That's as thorough a beating as any Bob Stoops team has taken since USC back in the Orange Bowl.

I believe for their efforts, the Trojans were given a ... national championship? Just some food for thought.

Followed by some analysis for dessert.

How the game was won: Oklahoma State dominated from start to finish in the 44-10 win. Oklahoma moved it early, but Oklahoma State piled on points after a Landry Jones fumble that set up the Cowboys' second touchdown. The second half never materialized as a real contest, especially after Jones inexplicably fumbled while trying to throw a bubble screen and Oklahoma State DE Richetti Jones scooped and scored from five yards out to make it 34-3 early in the third quarter.

Turning point: Down 10-0 and facing a 3rd-and-6 at OSU's 19, Jones was flushed out of the pocket, but OSU LB Alex Elkins caught him. He stripped the Sooners QB, and Jamie Blatnick returned the fumble 59 yards to the OU 1-yard line. The rout, as they say, was on.

Stat of the game: Remember that opportunistic Oklahoma State defense? The one that ranks second in the nation in turnover margin? It grabbed three turnovers in this one, stuffing an OU drive in OSU territory on one, returning another for a touchdown and returning a third to the 1. A solid beating turns to a rout fast when that happens.

Players of the game: Oklahoma State's offensive line. The holes were huge. Brandon Weeden had all day to throw. The Big 12's best front five played a heck of a game and gave the offense what it needed to operate, despite lots of early blitzes from Oklahoma that the Cowboys countered with screen passes. Late in the game, OSU continued to punish OU up front, too.

Second guessing: Poll voters and BCS computers. OSU didn't get any help from LSU, but Oklahoma State and Alabama were pretty close in my mind coming into Saturday night's game. The beatdown swung it in the Pokes' favor from where I'm sitting. No rematch. Let's see LSU's stifling defense take on an Oklahoma State offense that's scoring on everybody. LSU has never seen an offense like it would see in the Superdome. Oklahoma State's never seen a defense like it would encounter. Who doesn't want to see that?

What Oklahoma learned: It can't bounce back offensively from the loss of Ryan Broyles. It struggled last week against Iowa State. Baylor's defense? Well, it's not very good. But the Sooners struggled all night to put together a drive. Receivers weren't open, and OSU's corners, Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert, played outstanding games and both grabbed interceptions. Those receivers were plagued with the drops again, too, and without DE Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma's pass rush was non-existent.

What Oklahoma State learned: It can deliver a beating just like Oklahoma has done time and time again in this rivalry. The worst beating OSU had ever delivered before Saturday was a 47-0 win in 1945. Midway through the fourth quarter of this matchup, Oklahoma State fans started chanting "L-S-U! L-S-U!" in hopes that a date with the Tigers in the Superdome was on the way. Oklahoma State didn't surprise anybody by hanging as many points as it did, but the defense completely shutting down the Sooners? That's a shocker.

What it means: We're in for a very tense next 20 hours or so until the BCS standings are revealed on Sunday night. Virginia Tech, who was ahead of Oklahoma State in both human polls that factor into the BCS, lost to Clemson. That helps, and the lopsided fashion the Cowboys won will make lots of voters think twice about automatically putting Alabama at No. 2 behind LSU on their ballots. Oklahoma State can't hide from its horrible loss at Iowa State. But it has more quality wins than Alabama and has won all but two of its games impressively. Which will carry more weight?

Sooners not sure-handed minus Broyles

December, 3, 2011
STILLWATER, Okla. -- Bob Stoops and Landry Jones told me this week about the little things that go missing without injured receiver Ryan Broyles.

Sometimes a receiver drifts too far or too short over the middle. He does things differently than Broyles, who had caught around a third of Jones' career completions before tearing his ACL against Texas A&M.

Last week in windy conditions against Iowa State, the Sooners receivers dropped seven passes. This week, we've already seen six by my count, plus a deep ball that Jaz Reynolds didn't help break up. Brodrick Brown intercepted that one.

Broyles' best attribute was his hands. If the ball touched them, he caught it.

For all the talk of the little differences between having and not having Broyles, tonight, it's the big ones that have hurt.


Stoops, Players Want To Effect Change
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops sits down with Gene Wojciechowski to discuss his team's stand against racism.