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Bradford leads Oklahoma to Big 12 title game

Nov 25, 2007 - 2:49 AM NORMAN, Oklahoma (Ticker) -- Sam Bradford was not going to let a concussion keep him down.

Bradford tossed four touchdown passes as the 10th-ranked Sooners routed Oklahoma State, 49-17, in the "Bedlam Series" on Saturday to clinch a berth in the Big 12 Conference championship game.

"I felt fine, felt normal," Bradford said. "Everything felt good out there tonight. I started feeling better Monday, started coming around. I knew I was going to be fine."

Knocked out of the national championship picture with last week's 34-27 loss to Texas Tech, the Sooners rebounded to win the Big 12 South Division title.

Oklahoma will face the winner of Saturday night's showdown between Kansas and Missouri in the Big 12 title game next week in San Antonio.

Allen Patrick complemented Bradford's passing by rushing for 208 yards and two TDs on 29 carries.

"It was a very positive game," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "I'm really excited about how the guys came out and played."

The Sooners (10-2, 6-2 Big 12 South) played Saturday's contest without leading rusher DeMarco Murray, who was sidelined with a dislocated kneecap suffered last week.

But Bradford, the national leader in passing efficiency, was cleared on Wednesday after being forced out last week with a concussion and responded by setting an NCAA record for touchdown passes by a freshman.

The four TDs give Bradford 32, breaking the previous freshman mark of 30 set by Nevada's David Neill in 1998 and matched by Texas' Colt McCoy last season.

"Everything was positive throughout the week," Stoops said of Bradford. "I didn't want to jump the gun earlier in the week and say (he would return) because you never know what could happen. He played really well again today."

Oklahoma grabbed control early, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the first nine minutes to open a 14-0 lead.

"This one's pretty easy to explain," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "We're not physical enough up front."

The Sooners stretched their lead to 28-7 on Bradford's two-yard TD pass to Joe Jon Finley with 2:25 left in the first half.

"They (offensive line) played amazing tonight," Bradford said. "They opened some huge holes on the run game and kept me protected back there."

The Cowboys (6-6, 4-4 Big 12 South) tried to rally in the second half, closing to 28-17 on Dantrell Savage's six-yard TD run with 4:24 left in the third quarter.

But Oklahoma reeled off 21 unanswered points to turn the contest into a rout.

Savage rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, but the Sooners shut down the Cowboys' passing game. Zac Robinson completed only 8-of-20 passes for 105 yards.

"We couldn't get the passing game going," Oklahoma State offensive lineman Andrew Lewis said. "It just wasn't working."

Despite the four touchdowns, Bradford finished just 11-of-15 for 150 yards.

The Sooners wore down the Cowboys with a powerful running game, rushing for 327 yards and taking the pressure off Bradford.

"I don't think we planned on doing that," Finley said. "We came out and the offensive line was fired up and the coaches went with what was working."

Trailing, 21-7, Oklahoma State had a chance to get back in the game, but Robinson was stopped for no gain on 4th-and-goal from the 1 with 6:25 left in the first half.

"That was a real big stop, one of the best," Oklahoma defensive end Alonzo Dotson said. "It gave our team a lot of confidence."

The Sooners will be making their fifth appearance in the Big 12 title game and first since 2004.

"It's something very special," Bradford said. "Everybody focuses on the national championship and fail to realize how impressive a Big 12 championship is."