Mighty OU Sooners Fall at Cowboys Stadium, Lose Bradford

By Jaime Aron
|  Sunday, Sep 6, 2009  |  Updated 4:56 AM CDT
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From the Sidelines: OU Falls to BYU

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ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 05: (L-R) Matt Marshall #19, Brandon Ogletree #55 and Lee Aguirre #20 of the Brigham Young Cougars celebrate a 14-13 win against the Oklahoma Sooners at Cowboys Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford stood helplessly on the sideline, wearing a T-shirt, a sling and a towel around his neck.

All he could do was watch as his Oklahoma Sooners lost -- and the BYU Cougars launched their bid to become the latest BCS busters from the Mountain West.

Max Hall threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide-open McKay Jacobson in the back of the end zone with 3:03 left, giving No. 20 BYU a 14-13 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday night.

The Sooners' last hope to recover ended when Tress Way came up short on a 54-yard field goal with 1:23 left.

BYU players exchanged flying chest bumps right away, then celebrated wildly when their upset was complete, making for a stunning end to the first college football game — and first regular-season game — ever played at the nearly $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium and throwing the national title and Heisman races for a loop on the opening weekend.

"This is unbelievable," Hall said.

Cougars fans made up only a small portion of the crowd of 75,437, but they all stuck around long after this one. The team stayed on the field so they could all enjoy it together, cheerleaders waving flags and players pointing to friends and family in the crowd. Hall's uncle, former Cowboys quarterback Danny White, was expected to be among them.

"I don't know if we can measure it now," said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, who opened his fifth season with his biggest victory and one of the best in program history. "All I can say is I'm very proud of this football team."

The Cougars won at least 10 games each of the last three years, helping regain some of their national profile, but they'd lost 12 straight to ranked non-conference foes. Their last such win was over No. 1 Miami in 1990. While their No. 20 ranking showed they were respected, conference rivals Utah and TCU were ranked ahead of them. That's likely to change when the new poll comes out.

Hall was 26 of 38 for 329 yards and two touchdowns. The numbers that matter most: a 16-play, 78-yard drive that included converting a fourth-and-4 and throwing the winning touchdown after being shoved back from the 2 on a delay-of-game penalty.

Hall was intercepted twice and sacked four times, but this win could vault him to the fringe of the Heisman talk — especially with Bradford's status unknown.

Bradford sprained his throwing shoulder when he was tackled to the turf on a hard, clean hit by linebacker Coleby Clawson in the closing seconds of the first half. Oklahoma kicked a field goal on the next play to up 10-7, but backup Landry Jones wasn't able to stretch it very much.

The best Jones could do was get the Sooners to the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. After he failed to get in on a third-down sneak, coach Bob Stoops opted for another field goal. Hall made that strategy backfire, leaving Oklahoma 0-1 for only the second time in 11 seasons under Stoops. The other also was to a Mountain West school, TCU, in 2005.

Although Bradford and other key players returned from an Oklahoma squad that played in the national title game last season, there were questions about this team because it had four new starters on the offensive line, including a converted tight end at center.

There was a false start before the very first snap and two more that drive. They ended up drawing nine penalties (two were declined) and, worst of all, failed to slow Clawson on his way to Bradford.

The junior, who might've been the No. 1 overall pick had he turned pro, finished 10 of 14 for 96 yards and a touchdown. On the play before he was hurt, Bradford threw his longest competion of the game, an 18-yarder to Brandon Caleb. It also gave Bradford 7,937 yards passing for his career, breaking the school record held by another OU Heisman winner, Jason White.

Jones was 6 of 12 for 51 yards. The backfield duo of incumbent 1,000-yard rushers DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown weren't much of a factor, with Brown gaining 59 yards on 14 carries and Murray getting 58 yards on 10 tries. The Sooners were also without tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee).

BYU was missing starting running back Harvey Unga (hamstring), so backup Bryan Kariya filled in nicely with 42 yards rushing and 76 more yards on four receptions. Andrew George caught a 5-yard touchdown pass with 1:25 left in the first half that tied it at 7.

Jacobson caught four passes for 69 yards. A product of nearby Southlake who is just back from a Mormon mission, the touchdown had even more meaning because it was his muffed punt that led to Oklahoma's only touchdown, an 8-yard pass from Bradford to Ryan Broyles.

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