Sooners, Cowboys created ‘Bedlam’ memories for over a century in series that ends this year

The Associated Press - November 4, 2023 7:38 am

By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will meet one last time as conference rivals in their “Bedlam” series on Saturday.

No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12, No. 9 CFP) will leave the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference after this season, ending the annual matchups in a series that began in 1904 — three years before Oklahoma became the 46th U.S. state.

Oklahoma leads the series 91-19-7. However Oklahoma State (6-2, 4-1, No. 22 CFP) has been competitive enough for stretches in the past 50 years for some to call it a rivalry.

Former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer said Mike Gundy’s current run of success as Oklahoma State’s coach has helped make the series better the past two decades. Though Gundy has a 162-77 overall record, he is 3-15 against Oklahoma.

“The problem he’s always got is Oklahoma,” Switzer said. “You know, Oklahoma is Oklahoma, and good players want to come here because more good things have happened here than there have in Stillwater. Kids want to be a part of championship teams and win national championships.”

Former Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones coached at Oklahoma State from 1984 to 1994 and never beat the Sooners. He coached when Gundy was Oklahoma State’s quarterback and believes the field at Boone Pickens Stadium should bear Gundy’s name.

Even with all that, Jones said the gap in resources has always made competing with Oklahoma difficult.

“Is it a rivalry or a series?” he said. “The numbers attest that it’s a series. I personally think it’ll do Oklahoma State good to get out of it.”

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma’s 2017 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who beat the Cowboys three times, took it as a rivalry. Each year, he would shave his facial hair into a horseshoe mustache and say there’s a “new sheriff in town,” a dig at Oklahoma State’s mascot.

“It’s kind of a shame that it’s going away,” Mayfield, who now starts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said. “It means so much to the in-state rivalry, the people who were born and raised in Oklahoma and the traditions they have. It’s tough to see that go. I’m sure they’ll try to find something to work it out in the future. Those rivalry games, you need. It’s what makes college football great.”

Former Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown remembers the atmosphere in Stillwater in 2017, his freshman year.

“That was my first year at OU, so I didn’t know what to expect, but the atmosphere is crazy,” Brown, now with the Arizona Cardinals, said. “It feels like the fans are right on top of you. They’re hitting the walls with the paddles … It’s a nice atmosphere.”

Switzer went 15-1 against Oklahoma State, but he remembers the 1983 win as though it happened yesterday. Oklahoma State led 20-3 in the fourth quarter before “Sooner Magic” happened.

Oklahoma scored two touchdowns and trailed 20-18 in the closing minutes. After the Sooners’ second touchdown of the quarter, Switzer initially called for an onside kick. He changed his mind, but kicker Tim Lashar didn’t get the memo, so he kicked hard and short. The ball ricocheted off the helmet of Oklahoma State’s Chris Rockins and into the hands of Oklahoma’s Scott Case. Lashar kicked the game-winning field goal with 1:14 remaining.

Oklahoma’s band made its presence felt that day in Stillwater. Director Gene Thrailkill told his band to play the school fight song non-stop to the point that he was escorted off the field for not having a sideline pass. It was so noticeable that Switzer gave the band the game ball.

“They just had to listen to them keep playing, and they never shut up,” Switzer said with a laugh. “And we ended up winning the game.”

Here’s a look back at other memorable games in the series:


Oklahoma State 31, No. 5 Oklahoma 24

Oklahoma was the two-time defending national champion, and Oklahoma State had only beaten the Sooners twice since 1945.

Terry Miller ran for 159 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown run early in the game.

“They had a great running back named Terry Miller, who we had tried to recruit too — a kid from Colorado Springs,” Switzer recalled. “Well, Terry ended up making a long run for a touchdown right in front of me. He went about 80 yards, and he went by me and said ‘Hi coach.’ ”

The game helped vault Miller into the national spotlight. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting that season and second the next season.

It was Oklahoma’s first loss of the season, and only Switzer’s second loss in 41 games as head coach.


No. 8 Oklahoma 31, No. 12 Oklahoma State 28

Oklahoma’s Mike Gaddis and Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders had a running back duel for the ages.

Gaddis ran for 213 yards and two touchdowns on just 18 carries.

“I’ll tell you something, Mike Gaddis is the most underrated player who ever played at Oklahoma,” Switzer said. “Totally underrated. People don’t even mention his name, and I’ll tell you, he was a great, great player.”

Sanders ran for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries in one of the highlights of his Heisman Trophy-winning season. Jones said Sanders was already well established at this point, but his success against Oklahoma further legitimized his previous numbers.

An 18-yard option keep for Charles Thompson gave the Sooners the lead with 2:33 remaining.

Jones saw perhaps his best chance at a victory against the Sooners slip away when Brent Parker dropped a pass from Gundy in the end zone on fourth down that would have given the Cowboys the lead in the final minute.


No. 3 Oklahoma State 44, No. 10 Oklahoma 10

Joseph Randle ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns and Jeremy Smith added 119 yards and two scores, and Oklahoma State claimed its largest victory margin in the series since 1945.

The win came one week after the previously unbeaten Cowboys lost 37-31 at Iowa State. The Iowa State game was played a day after Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke was one of four people killed in a plane crash.

Once the Cowboys regained their focus the next week, they were dominant, but it wasn’t enough. Oklahoma State just missed playing in the BCS title game. The Cowboys beat Stanford and star quarterback Andrew Luck in the Fiesta Bowl and finished the season ranked No. 3.


Oklahoma State 38, No. 18 Oklahoma 35, OT

Tyreek Hill’s electrifying 92-yard punt return for a touchdown in the final minute of regulation plus the extra point tied the game at 35 and forced overtime.

Hill’s return could have been avoided — the ball was re-kicked because of a penalty against Oklahoma State. Coach Bob Stoops –- who went 13-4 against Oklahoma State – said he regretted his decision.

Ben Grogan hit the game-winning 21-yard field goal in overtime to make the Cowboys bowl eligible.


No. 8 Oklahoma 62, No. 11 Oklahoma State 52

The teams combined for 114 points and more than 1,400 yards as Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph made their cases for the Heisman.

Mayfield passed for a school record 598 yards and five touchdowns. Oklahoma gained 785 yards and Mayfield eventually won the Heisman.

Brown had a school-record 265 yards receiving, including touchdown receptions of 84 and 77 yards. He said then-coach Lincoln Riley had told him to expect more action.

“My coach was like, ‘You’re going to have every opportunity this week,’” Brown recalled. “I made the most of it.”

Rudolph threw for 448 yards and five touchdowns, Justice Hill ran for a career-high 228 yards, and James Washington caught seven passes for 128 yards and a touchdown for Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State had the ball trailing 55-52 in the closing minutes but couldn’t score, and Oklahoma tacked on a touchdown in the final minute.


AP Sports Writers David Brandt and Fred Goodall contributed.


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