STILLWATER — When OSU has fallen behind in Bedlam in recent years, it frequently snowballs into OSU falling really behind. One thing often leads to another and suddenly it’s an OU blowout.
That felt very within the realm of possibilities Saturday, as OU opened a 33-24 lead in the second half and in the process stole all the momentum inside Boone Pickens Stadium. But OSU’s defense held OU scoreless in the final quarter, as the team showed championship mettle and put early struggles aside to close on a high note.
“It was a game of a bunch of emotional swings with the special teams plays, kick return touchdown,” said Mike Gundy. “Then we had two other really good returns. We had the dropped punt, they dropped one. Then we gave up a safety.
“I told them it was a culture win to be behind with the momentum going the other direction,” he continued. “Guys didn’t get frustrated. Their body language was good, their attitude was good. They learned to play the next play. They don’t worry about what happened, they just played the next play.”
OSU’s defense did not allow a score in the second half — all nine OU points were scored off either a fumble or a safety — but those nine points did indeed count. It gave OU its largest lead of the game and zapped the vibes in Stillwater. OSU had to work through it, and did, but it was real adversity for the team against a program it has struggled to battle.
“There’s four quarters in football, there’s 15 minutes in each quarter, like why drop your head,” said Spencer Sanders. “There’s no point. We have a great team, we have a great staff, we’ve got to just keep pushing.”
OSU has faced adversity before. It struggled to move the ball against Boise State in Boise. Missouri State and Tulsa gave it real challenges. But this was OU, after all. It was in-game adversity and a mental hurdle to jump, to boot. It had demons to exorcise. And doing that in the way it had to — by digging out of a nearly double-digit deficit — was all the more impressive.
“Football is up and down,” said Sanders. “It’s like a stock. It’s going to go down, it’s going to go up. You have to hold your emotions. Can’t get too high, can’t get too low. We listen to our coaches, we practice hard, practice well. We’re just coming together as a whole.”
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