STILLWATER, Okla. — A dominating performance made Oklahoma State a conference champion for the first time in decades. Now, the Cowboys want a shot at an even bigger title.
Joseph Randle ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns, Richetti Jones returned a fumble for a score and No. 3 Oklahoma State throttled No. 13 Oklahoma 44-10 Saturday night to win the Big 12 championship and make its case to play for the BCS national title.
The Cowboys (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) snapped an eight-game losing streak in the Bedlam rivalry and won their first outright conference title since 1948 in the three-team Missouri Valley.
Oklahoma State’s defense, badmouthed much of the season while giving up big yardage but leading the nation in takeaways, forced the Sooners into five turnovers – four of them by quarterback Landry Jones. Fans started chanting “L-S-U!” midway through the fourth quarter with the victory well in hand, then stormed the field and tore down the goal posts when it was over.
While the top-ranked Tigers won the SEC championship Saturday to lock up a spot in the BCS title game, No. 2 Alabama sat at home idle after finishing second in its division. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, proved itself the best team in its state and its conference. But it’s up to the voters, who had the Cowboys fifth in the coaches’ poll and Harris poll, to decide whether Oklahoma State will play for the highest stakes.
Coach Mike Gundy proclaimed earlier this week that he considered the Crimson Tide to be the second-best team in the nation “right now” – maybe because that’s what he thought his team needed to hear to get fired up and prove him wrong.
“Last week, I said Alabama should be there,” Gundy said on the field after the game. “There’s no question Oklahoma State should be No. 2 right now. No question.”
Gundy thinks there’s more to the Cowboys than the nation’s second-highest scoring offense, and he wants a chance to prove it against LSU.
“We’d love to have that challenge. I think our defense is better than what other people say,” Gundy said.
It ended up as Oklahoma’s most lopsided defeat since losing the 2005 Orange Bowl against Southern California, and the second-biggest margin of victory for the Pokes in the series — behind only a 47-0 shutout in 1945.
Oklahoma State’s case to play against LSU in New Orleans next month will be hurt by a double-overtime loss 15 days earlier at Iowa State, which finished its season 6-6. It’ll bolstered by five wins against teams in the BCS Top 25, compared to two for Alabama.
And, of course, the Cowboys will have the momentum from not only winning a conference title but doing it in dominating fashion against a team that was ranked No. 1 earlier this season.