|Oklahoma's Stoops can't match Fiesta trickery magic|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 02 January 2008 19:22|
A year after watching his team get victimized by gadget plays on the same field, Stoops called for a third-quarter onside kick that failed and turned momentum in West Virginia's favor in the No. 11 Mountaineers' 48-28 win over the third-ranked Sooners on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma (11-3) had scored nine straight points to pull within 20-15 when kicker Garrett Hartley tapped a dribbling kickoff that didn't even make it the 10 yards needed for the Sooners to be allowed to recover it.
The shortened field jumpstarted West Virginia's offense, which had gone three-and-out on its first two possessions after halftime, and the Mountaineers (11-2) scored six plays later to start extending their lead.
The floodgates opened after that, with West Virginia tacking on touchdowns on a 30-yard end around by Darius Reynaud, a 79-yard pass from Pat White to Tito Gonzales and a 65-yard run by Noel Devine.
Boise State emptied its bag of tricks in last year's Fiesta Bowl, using a hook-and-lateral play to send the game to overtime, then winning it with a wide receiver pass for a touchdown and a Statue of Liberty play for the decisive 2-point conversion.
While Stoops had rejected the thought that the Boise State loss would have any lingering impact on the Sooners, his players spoke openly about wanting to wash away the memories of the often-replayed loss.
Instead, they'll head home with Oklahoma's fourth straight loss in a BCS bowl game.
Stoops once was known for his brilliant trick play calls, including a game-winning fake field goal at Missouri in 2002 and a fake punt that helped win a game at Alabama the following year. He talked last year about not using as many trick plays because opponents were looking for them more.
He pulled out one on a wide receiver pass from Manuel Johnson to Malcolm Kelly with an 18-point lead earlier in the season against Miami, but the Sooners hadn't used many gimmicks other than basic reverses.
There hadn't been much need for gadget plays, though, as Oklahoma ranked third in the nation in scoring (43.4 points per game) and ninth in scoring defense (18.2 points) during the season.
Now, the Sooners will have an entire offseason to dwell on trickery again - but this time with only themselves to blame.