Sooners look to finish strong

OU running back Samaje Perine rushes against Baylor on November 8 in Norman

OU running back Samaje Perine rushes against Baylor on November 8 in Norman

Although a Big 12 football championship isn’t at stake in Saturday’s Bedlam contest in Norman, it should still be an interesting matchup for both teams.  If the Sooners, 8-3 overall, 5-3 in conference win, they could possibly enhance their bowl destination and still have a shot at another 10-win season.  For OSU, 5-6 overall, 3-5 Big 12, win and become bowl-eligible.  Lose, and their season ends on Owen Field.

Sooner wide receiver Sterling Shepard looks for daylight against Kansas State.  Coach Bob Stoops said fans shouldn't expect to see Shepard play against OSU.

Sooner wide receiver Sterling Shepard looks for daylight against Kansas State. Coach Bob Stoops said fans shouldn’t expect to see him play against OSU.

It has been a season of highs and lows for OU, who entered the season ranked #4 in the nation.  Four straight wins, including a hard-fought win at West Virginia, allowed the Sooners to solidify their position in one of the coveted spots in this year’s inaugural college football playoff.  Then, on the first Saturday in October, the Sooners dropped a close game to TCU in Fort Worth.  Even though their dreams of making the playoff were damaged, they weren’t completely dashed.  That is, until Bill Snyder brought his Kansas State Wildcats to Norman.  In a mistake-filled game, the Sooners found themselves on the short end of a 31-30 game.

OU quarterback Trevor Knight will miss his third consecutive game Saturday after suffering a neck injury against Baylor.

OU quarterback Trevor Knight will miss his third consecutive game Saturday after suffering a neck injury against Baylor.

Prior to a come from behind win at Texas Tech, and a rainy win at home against the Kansas Jayhawks, OU was soundly beaten by the Baylor Bears, who scored 45 unanswered points after falling behind 14-3 in the first quarter.  It was Bob Stoops’ worst loss at home in his 16-year tenure with OU.

One of the bright spots for OU this season was the emergence of true freshman Samaje Perine, who re-wrote the NCAA record book for most rushing yards in a single game, with 427 yards against the Jayhawks on a sloppy, rain-soaked Owen Field.

The Sooners have dominated their series with OSU, but several recent games have shown that Bedlam is an appropriate title for their annual match up.

Editor’s Note: Photos above by Greg Duke.

Samaje Perine - Photo curtsey The Oklahoman

Samaje Perine – Photo curtsey The Oklahoman

While we don’t often note other sports reports, Jenni Carlson writing for the Oklahoman crafted an excellent commentary on Samaje Perine’s record breaking day. Carlson begins:

Samaje Perine disappeared in a crush of shoulder pads and helmets.

Might’ve been the first time all day.

Then, with a football that is headed to the College Football Hall of Fame hoisted above his head, Perine emerged above the crimson fray. His Oklahoma teammates were no longer just surrounding him, slapping him on the helmet, pounding him on the shoulder pads. They were hoisting him up and parading him around, something rarely seen even by long-time Sooner watchers.

Of course, Perine did something Saturday no major-college-football watcher of any persuasion has ever seen. He rushed 427 yards. An NCAA single-game record.

On an afternoon that could’ve been miserable — constant rain, sparse attendance and bad opponent — Perine turned it into one of the best days in Sooner history. No one will remember the 44-7 final score. Few may even recall that Kansas was the foe. But you can rest assured way more folks than actually stuck it out will say they were there to see the record broken.

To think, the true freshman was a fourth-string afterthought in the summer. Had Joe Mixon not slugged a gal, Perine might’ve redshirted this season.

Click here for more from the Oklahoman.