By Zac Ellis
December 07, 2013

Jalen SaundersOklahoma's Jalen Saunders caught the winning touchdown pass with 19 seconds remaining. (Sue Ogrocki/AP)

Oklahoma State can kiss its BCS hopes goodbye.

Backup Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell hit wide receiver Jalen Saunders for a seven-yard touchdown pass with 19 seconds left to lift the Sooners over the rival Cowboys. Oklahoma's 33-24 victory ended Oklahoma State’s shot at the Big 12 title and a BCS berth; instead, Baylor won the conference championship with a 30-10 defeat of Texas and will head to a BCS bowl.

Bell’s late scoring pass was the first touchdown of the game scored by the Sooners’ offense. It spoiled a standout effort from Cowboys running back Desmond Roland, who gained 169 total yards (144 rushing, 25 receiving) and scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). Bell, after replacing injured starter Trevor Knight in the third quarter, completed 10-of-16 passes for 140 yards. He was particularly effective during the final 1:46 of the fourth quarter, when he completed 5-of-8 passes for 57 yards on the game-winning drive.

The rivals traded touchdowns in the opening 15 minutes, with Roland punching in a one-yard touchdown run and Saunders scoring on a 64-yard punt return. Both teams kicked field goals in the second quarter. With the score tied 10-10, Knight went down on the Sooners’ final play before the half. Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops initially replaced Knight with Kendal Thompson, but the sophomore completed just 2-of-9 attempts and threw interception before Bell replaced him. The Sooners tied the game at 17 late in the third quarter with an eight-yard touchdown pass from receiver (and holder) Grant Bothun to kicker Michael Hunnicutt on a fake field goal.

After Hunnicutt's 39-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter gave Oklahoma its first lead of the game, Roland and Oklahoma State responded. The junior running back capped a seven-play, 89-yard drive with a one-yard scoring run that put the Cowboys ahead 24-20 with less than two minutes left -- at the time, Roland's touchdown seemed to be the knockout blow.

But Bell -- who had supplanted Knight as the starter in September only to lose the job after going down with an injury against Iowa State on Nov. 16 -- responded by leading the Sooners on the game-winning 66-yard drive.

Bell's heroics were not without controversy. Midway through Oklahoma's final drive, Bell lofted a pass down the left sideline intended for Lacoltan Bester. Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert appeared to come down with an interception, but the ball came loose after Gilbert hit the ground and officials on the field ruled the pass incomplete. Bell and the offense hurried to the line of scrimmage and snapped the ball before the play could be reviewed.

After Bell's touchdown pass to Saunders, the Cowboys had 19 seconds for one last shot. But their desperation hook-and-lateral attempt ended in disaster: Sooners linebacker Eric Striker recovered a fumble for a score, pouring salt in Oklahoma State's wounds.

second-quarter earthquake

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