By CLIFF BRUNT AP Sports Writer
NORMAN (AP) — Spencer Rattler wanted to show out at Bedlam.
The freshman came through. He passed for 301 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score to help No. 18 Oklahoma beat No. 14 Oklahoma State 41-13 on Saturday night.
“I told myself I needed a big game, especially in this one,” Rattler said. “I went out there and trusted the process. Guys around me played really well and helped me out. O-line blocked well, receivers caught the ball, defense played well. It’s not just me out there. Everybody played well and that contributed to the stat sheet.”
Rattler helped the Sooners boost their chances of winning a sixth straight Big 12 championship. Iowa State leads the way with just one conference loss, and Oklahoma State joined Oklahoma and Texas with two league losses in the race to qualify for the Big 12 championship game.
Rhamondre Stevenson ran for a career-high 141 yards, and Theo Wease caught two touchdown passes for the Sooners in their fifth consecutive victory. Oklahoma (6-2, 5-2) won its sixth straight in the series and extended its November winning streak to 23 dating to 2014.
The Sooners did it in front of a crowd limited to 25% of capacity because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It didn’t sound limited.
“That place was rocking,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. “I don’t care how many people were in here. The guys played well and really fed off of it. All of this talk about not having a homefield advantage — with limited people in the stadium. If you were in that stadium tonight, there was a homefield advantage, which is pretty special.”
Oklahoma State gained just 246 total yards. Running back Chuba Hubbard was held to 44 yards on eight carries, with most of it coming on a 29-yard run. Tylan Wallace was limited to 68 yards on four catches.
The Cowboys (5-2, 4-2) completed just 15 of 40 passes.
“You don’t see that very often,” Riley said. “It’s all about team defense. When you’re getting pressure on guys, you’re hitting guys — that’s all a part of it, too. We certainly held our own.”
Oklahoma raced to a 21-0 lead in the first nine minutes on the strength of three touchdowns by Rattler — two passing and one rushing. The Sooners led 21-7 at the end of the first quarter. It was the most points Oklahoma has scored in a first quarter against Oklahoma State in Norman.
“I wish we could have had the first quarter back,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “We put ourselves in a hole, we never really could come back. We’re not as explosive in certain areas as we have been in past years, so it was a bit tougher. … We lost to a better team.”
Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders left the game in the first quarter after Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins slammed him to the ground. Shane Illingworth replaced Sanders and threw a touchdown pass to Logan Carter that helped cut Oklahoma’s lead to 27-13 at halftime, but he struggled from there and was replaced by Sanders in the fourth quarter.
“Give credit to them,” Wallace said. “We were struggling kind of the whole game trying to make plays. We’ve just got to be better.”
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have issues at quarterback. They took Sanders out after the hard tackle by Perkins, then Illingworth completed just 5 of 21 passes before Sanders returned in the fourth quarter.
“You’ve got to play the hand you’ve been dealt,” Gundy said. “We just did what we could with what we had.”
Oklahoma: The Sooners’ offense has averaged 55 points in three games since Stevenson returned from a suspension. He has brought balance to an offense that relied too much on Rattler early in the season. The defense has improved, too, allowing just 16 points per game in its last four.
Gundy said the medical staff cleared Sanders to return.
“He started feeling better,” Gundy said. “He got dinged in the head. The medical staff usually makes those decisions when those guys can come back and ready. In the second half, they said they felt he was OK and clear enough to come back in if we wanted him to.”
Stevenson has 332 yards rushing and 127 yards receiving in three games since his return.
“He’s been a go-to back for us,” Rattler said. “When we need positive yards, when we need a first down, he’s the guy we’re going to go to. Handing him the rock is just never a bad idea.”
Oklahoma State: Hosts Texas Tech on Saturday.
Oklahoma: At West Virginia on Saturday.
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