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Sooners top Baylor
OU's coach talks about overtime win

NORMAN — Oklahoma fans got more football than they bargained for when the Sooners faced off against Baylor Saturday night. And while the excitement of overtime is hard to top in any sport, OU followers would have been more than happy to sacrifice the extra football they witnessed for a more comfortable victory.

In the end — which didn’t occur for two overtimes — the Sooners found a way to beat the pesky Bears 37-30. And really, that’s all that ultimately mattered for coach Bob Stoops’ team. Afterward, he spoke to the media about the game.

The following excerpts are taken from that postgame press conference in the Red Room:

Bob Stoops’ Opening Statement:

It was a good win. Any win is a good win. Compliments always to Baylor, which we knew coming in was a good football team. Coach (Guy) Morriss and his staff and his team have done an excellent job. I’m proud of our team to hang in there. I’m not proud of some of the plays I feel we can be better at, but I’m proud of the fact we hung in there and won in overtime and made the plays that made the difference.

I go through the game and it’s funny, I’m going to watch what I preach to my team. I preached all week about three factors that to me, were all big factors — and they were turnovers, penalties and special teams. That’s the whole game because we really played so well in so much of this football game. But we kept letting them hang around, hang around and hang around for those reasons.

We turned the football over at the end of the game and we’re trying to ice the game and we have the ball in field goal position, we’re going to try and use clock and try and get three more points and be up eleven and we fumble. We’ve got second and goal inside the one, literally with a foot or six inches and we jump and get a procedure penalty. Then we’ve been good all year in our kickoff cover and we give up a hundred yard kickoff return.

And give Baylor credit. They blocked us, so I don’t want to sound like it was just us. But the penalties and turnovers, especially when we already possess the football, there’s no reason we can’t take care of that.

Those are areas where we allowed them, with some of our mistakes, to hang around and then we bust — we didn’t bust, we were in coverage. In the end of the game we’re in as safe a coverage as you can possibly be in and we don’t keep position and stay on top of somebody when you see the clock ticking down and what the situation is. To me that’s another major mistake.

We’re still growing from them and learning from them. Fortunately we won and made plays at the end of the game that won the game.

Q: You guys had the ball for over 42 minutes and they had it for 18 minutes. Does that surprise you?
Stoops: No. I saw all those and I was aware of it during the game. Like I said, I understand there was so much of that game where we played so well. But the areas I spoke of, are what allowed them to stay there — to stay within striking range for too long. What happens is you have to be perfect defensively. You can’t give up one play or there it is and that’s what happened. So that’s the game. If you’re going to turn the football over and if you’re going to have penalties when you’re in position to score or you’re going to give up plays in the kicking game, you’re going to be in a tight game.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about what you thought of Gutierrez’ performance?
Stoops: I thought he was spectacular. I can’t take away the fumbles. That’s the part that hurts and I know he hurts from it but some of the other runs that he does, he just has a great, great knack of seeing seams and holes and then he just has that uncanny ability to make people miss him or bounce around people. It’s funny because we were talking when we recruited Jacob, but he reminds me of Quentin Griffin. Big guys can’t make those kinds of moves. They just can’t and he has such incredible balance and ability to go sideways. He goes sideways faster than anybody you’ll see. For me it really doesn’t surprise me to see him go in there and play so well.

Q: How about the play of Allen Patrick tonight?
Stoops; He did a nice job. Allen is a good, hard downhill guy and a physical guy. He loves contact. He came in and I’m just proud of him. With the limited time he’s been (playing running back) he went in there and executed in a great way. He took care of the ball and made some nice six and seven yard runs at times. He caught the ball well and for the most part, he protected pretty well.

Q: Was there confusion on the touchdown throw that helped Baylor tie the game late?
Stoops: There was no confusion. We were in a three-man rush and dropping eight. It was third-and-10 and we thought they might get part of it. But the clock was short and it was going to keep ticking. So we were as safe as we could be. For whatever reason we didn’t keep top position. Again, it was just a mental error.

Q: Are you happy with the progress of Rhett Bomar tonight?
Stoops: He continues to progress and made some really nice throws. He hung in there and you love seeing him at the end of the game. He just threw a beautiful ball in overtime. He’ll continue to make progress. He’s a tough, competitive guy. He can make all the throws and reads and it’s continuing to develop and he’s going to continue to get better.

Q: Your young receivers appeared to be playing a bigger role, too, aren’t they?
Stoops: They did. I’m proud of those guys. They’re good players. It’s the same thing with them. The more they’re on the field, the more they’re going to contribute and continue to improve and make the plays. You can see them gaining confidence so they’re going to keep developing for sure.

Q: You have to be pleased with Garrett Hartley making some pressure kicks at the end of the game too aren’t you?
Stoops: Garrett was given a game ball. He was very solid and I’m glad I stuck up for him last week. He is a very good kicker and I knew last week was an aberration from what I’ve seen from him. He got a game ball and he was excellent out there with all his kicks. Jacob Rice and Cody Freeby really did an excellent job handling the ball as well. I never take that for granted.