COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Facing fourth-and-inches from his
own 29 with 1:29 left, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops wanted to punt to
protect a one-point lead against Texas A&M.
"The second I said punt it, I looked at all the offensive guys
in their eyes, then I thought 'I can't punt it," Stoops said.
The gamble paid off for the 18th-ranked Sooners, who got the
first down they needed to wrap up a 17-16 victory over the
21st-ranked Aggies on Saturday night.
Paul Thompson's second effort on a sneak gave Oklahoma (7-2, 4-1
Big 12) the first down, but the play ended up being moot. Texas A&M
(8-2, 4-2) -- home of the 12th man -- was called for having 12 men on
the field, giving the Sooners a first down and the ability to run
out the clock.
"That's what we wanted," Thompson said of the call. "We
didn't want to give the ball back and allow them to score."
The Sooners won their fourth straight in Stoops' 100th game at
Oklahoma while breaking a four-game winning streak by the Aggies.
Allen Patrick continued to show he's a capable replacement for
the injured Adrian Peterson. Patrick ran for a career-high 173
yards and a touchdown and now has 440 yards in the three games
since replacing Peterson, who is out with a broken collarbone.
The Aggies got two late field goals to close the gap, but were
foiled by their inability to convert two second-half turnovers by
Oklahoma into any points. Texas A&M's defense forced fumbles by
Patrick and Thompson on consecutive possessions, but the offense
stalled both times and had to punt it away.
"I thought our defense played a great second half and we just
need one more little stop there and we might have...had a chance to
win the football game," Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione said.
The Aggies cut the lead to 17-13 on a field goal by 19-yard
field goal by Layne Neumann with 7:45 remaining and got within a
point on a 39-yarder with less than four minutes to go.
The Sooners only points of the second half were set up by the
Marcus Walker intercepted a pass by Stephen McGee and returned
it 19 yards to the 6. The Sooners got a 23-yard field goal after
Patrick was stopped for no gain and Thompson threw two
incompletions to lead 17-10 with 7:31 left in the third quarter.
"It was just one of those things where you just don't think
you're going to come up short and it hurts when you do," Aggies
safety Melvin Bullitt said. "The whole time you believe you're
going to win and it's just like somebody breaking your heart."
Patrick ran for 54 yards on Oklahoma's first drive and gave the
Sooners an early lead when he scored on a 1-yard run. He had 14
carries for 101 yards in the first quarter.
"We came out here to run the ball," Patrick said. "I think
we're coming together and we're ready to make things happen."
The Aggies got out to a quick start too with Mike Goodson taking
a pitch 58 yards to the 13-yard-line. But the Aggies were called
for two penalties and had to settle for a field goal.
Goodson had 10 carries for 132 yards.
The Sooners went up 14-3 after Thompson scored on a 7-yard run
later in the first. Oklahoma then tried an onside kick and it
almost worked, but the ball squirted out from under a Sooner and
Texas A&M recovered.
Working with the short field and bolstered by two Oklahoma
penalties, the Aggies got within 14-10 when burly running back
Jorvorskie Lane bulled in from the 1 for the touchdown in the
second quarter. Lane finished with 13 carries for 62 yards.
Thompson, 3-for-12 passing for 39 yards, was pleased with the
Sooners' early success against the Aggies, but disappointed in his
second-half performance in leading the offense.
"The first two drive we were rolling," he said. "And then we
got a little sloppy from there on out. It's a big win, but I don't
think my play was close to par. There's a lot of things I could
have done better."