Oklahoma all-stars escape with 17-16 win over Texas in Oil Bowl
Oklahoma fans usually don't get to break out their favorite Rogers and Hammerstein lyrics when they make the trip south for the Oil Bowl, but Saturday night's 71st edition at Memorial Stadium turned out to be a little different.
Leading 17-16 with a minute remaining in regulation, Oklahoma escaped when Texas' field goal attempt went awry thanks to a bad snap. And once the referees straightened out the resulting confusion, the celebration was on.
"We don't usually win this game," Oklahoma quarterback said. "So, it's a good feeling for us to be able to take this year's title back home."
It was Wilkins' 65-yard scamper on the last play of the third quarter that proved to be the winning margin. All night long, though, the Texas defense kept him in check; it was obvious that Wilkins' speed and quickness was starting to affect them.
And when his break finally came, the game's offensive most valuable player took it and ran away.
"The line did a great job and things just opened up for me," Wilkins said. "It was a huge hole to go through. They had been coming off the edges well all night and I couldn't get anywhere prior to that run.
"On that run, we tried to go inside first - and it really worked for us."
After the game, Wilkins and several Oklahoma players stood in front the Memorial Stadium scoreboard for a picture to commemorate their victory.
It was only fitting because Saturday night was one of Wilkins' last few games at quarterback. The Tulsa University signee will patrol the secondary as a safety for the Golden Hurricane this fall.
"I've still got one more left in the all-state game in Oklahoma," Wilkins said. "I threw a pick tonight, but I also got a touchdown throw and a run, too. So it was pretty decent."
His touchdown pass gave Oklahoma its first lead of the game in the second quarter when Wilkins connected with Rush Springs' Brian Loyd for an 18-yard strike on the very edge of the right corner of the end zone.
Union's Tress Way came in for the extra point and Oklahoma was up 7-3. But Way wasn't done.
After Texas scored again to take a 10-7 lead, Way was pressed back into duty when an Oklahoma drive that began near midfield fizzled out and left Marlow's Barry Foster with a tactical decision and 50 yards of field between him and a tie score.
"There wasn't any hesitation on that decision," Foster said. "I asked him if he could hit it and he said that he was good from 45 yards, but would give it shot."
It went straight down the middle, just like Way dreamed it would.
"It was a little intense," Way said. "It kind of felt like a miniature Cotton Bowl, so I thought that I might as well get ready for it now. I got a great snap and hold, so I just let it fly.
"I already got to kick one like this in the Union-Jenks game and, hopefully, I'll get to do this again."
R.J. Bartley of Grove Okla. (eight tackles) shared defensive MVP honors with teammate Zack Wallace (four tackles) as they led an effort that slowed down Texas' spread offense and gave their team a chance to win.
"That was the most fun I've had playing football in a long time," Bentley said. "We stuck it to them and gave it all we had all night long. We knew they'd try and spread the field, so when they did it we just reacted to it."
Texas leads the series 44-18-1 and the teams have spilt the last six games.