MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

December 7, 2013

Stoops pulls out one from gamblin' days

By Michael Kinney
CNHI

— STILLWATER — Bob Stoops used to have a plethora of nicknames. Everything from Big Game Bob to Riverboat Gambler had been attached to him during the first half of his career at Oklahoma.

However, in recent seasons, those tag lines disappeared as Stoops had become more conservative in his approach to winning games. The gambler days had seemingly been long gone.

Yet, two days before Bedlam, Stoops seemed to know that he was going to need a game-changing play to knock off No. 7 Oklahoma State and he reverted back to his Big Game Bob days to find a little-used fake field goal that had not been seen in more than a decade.

It wound up turning the tide in the Sooners’ 33-24 victory Saturday over the Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium.

“I was so pumped this week when he came into my office on Thursday and recognized a fake that he had run earlier in his career,” Special Teams coach Jay Boulware said. “He was just on it. I guess he got his swag and started to feel it the end of the week. He was ready for it. That was something he brought to the table.”

Trailing 17-10, backup quarterbacks Kendal Thompson and Blake Bell drove the Sooners down the field into the Pokes territory. Bell’s pass to tight end Brannon Green was broken up in the back of the end zone on third down.

 Field goal kicker Michael Hunnicutt trotted onto the field from the Pokes’ 8-yard line. Instead, Stoops called for the fake and  Grant Bothun took the snap, rolled out to his left and spotted Hunnicutt in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

“I felt at that point, here we are on our third string quarterback and I just thought a field goal wasn’t going to be good enough,” Stoops said. “I knew we were going to need more than that. We had the numbers advantage out to that side and the way they were lining up and it worked out that way. Grant Bothun and Hunnicutt executed it very well.”

Boulware said the play was ran to perfection, despite just being installed Thursday.

“It was an excellent call and an excellent play,” Boulware said. “First of all, it was a tremendous blessing for those type of things to work out. It has to be divine intervention to get the exact look you look for. It was wide open.”

Not only did the fake catch the Cowboys off guard, it caught most of the Sooners by surprise. Many were still upset by a flag that was not thrown the play before.

“I was a little upset because Moose (Green) got a little hands to his face and I was jawing at the refs a little bit,” OU tailback Brennan Clay said. “I looked back and we’re already running the fake. My mouth gaped open. I think it got everybody going. For us to come out with a touchdown instead of a field goal, that was a lot of momentum swing.”

For senior offensive lineman Gabe Ikard, it wasn’t a matter of if the Sooners would run the fake or not. It was just when would they pull it out on the unsuspecting Pokes. When they finally ran it, he was still taken aback.

“I was thinking (Bothum) should have run it in and not thrown it to Hunnicutt and let him get blasted,” Ikard said. “We had worked it a ton this week. We had run it back in the days. Back in 2003. We ran it, worked just like we thought it would. When coach Stoops put something in, we’re running it.”

Stoops dow played the thought he had gambled more in this game than in the past. He said in his eyes he wasn’t rolling the dice. But he couldn’t deny the impact it had on his team.

“Of course everybody was charged up,” Stoops said. “Instead of a field goal, you tie it up. It’s a big boost.”