STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley put away some demons in the Sooners' 34-16 win over arch-rival Oklahoma State Saturday.
Motley and the OU secondary had been burned by OSU quarterbacks Mason Rudolph (448 yards passing and 5 TDs, 2017) and Taylor Cornelius (501 yards, three TDs and no interceptions) despite the Sooners pulling out a win in both games (62-52, 2017 and 48-47, 2018).
Motley impacted the game in a positive way this time as he forced and recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, broke up a pass and had five solo and one assisted tackle. He could laugh and cry a little about having another interception overturned by replay.
"There's always something with me taking turnovers away,'' he said with a smile. "I didn't see anything on the big screen that my foot was out, but you know you get a better replay on TV. That's all good. I got another one and that's all that matters and getting the W.''
Motley, on OSU's second series, forced and recovered a fumble by Braydon Johnson. OU would convert it into a touchdown to take a 17-7 lead allowing the Sooners to separate. Many felt it was the turning point of the game.
"It was great,'' Motley said. "All we preach on and all we do in practice is getting the ball out. It's a natural feeling to get to the ball and wrap around it.''
OU defensive end Ronnie Perkins said the early turnover "definitely gave us confidence to get after the ball and stripping the ball and making plays. It started early and it kept growing as the game went on.''
Motley intercepted OSU's Dru Brown to halt the Cowboys' last drive at the OU 31.
Brown was 22 of 32 passing for 207 yards but did not throw for a touchdown. It was only the second time this year Cowboy quarterbacks didn't throw for a score.
OU head coach Lincoln Riley described Motley's play as "awesome.''
"They went after him with a lot of double moves,'' Riley said. "He was in a great position. I thought he trusted his technique throughout the entire game and made a lot of big plays. They gave him a lot of opportunities and he certainly responded. He wanted the ball thrown his way tonight. That's how you have to play any position. If you don't want the ball your way to have a chance to make a play or a block, you're not the guy to be out there. He wanted it coming his way. He was ready and he trusted his technique.''
Sooner defensive end Ronnie Perkins said he was happy the senior Motley was the hero.
"It's taken him so long to get the big break with his play,'' Perkins said. "He's a great guy, great leader and a great dude.''
Riley called it fitting Motley had the interception on the last OU defensive play of the game.
Motley said the key to OU's recent defensive turnaround "was putting the past (48-41 loss to Kansas State and a narrow 42-41 win over Iowa State) behind us.''
It was OU's 21st straight November win and Motley said the Sooners were breed to win in November.
"That's when you want to play to the best of your ability and cut it loose,'' Motley said. "We put together four good quarters and we didn't let up. We needed to play a complete game and play to the best of our ability.''
Motley and the Sooners held Heisman Trophy candidate Chuba Hubbard to 104 yards on 24 carries — 62 yards below his season average. Hubbard had averaged 6.4 yards a carry coming into the game. He was held to 25 yards on eight carries the second half. His longest run was 22 yards.
"The key was definitely wrapping up and rolling and getting 11 hats to the ball,'' Motley said. "Hubbard is a great runner and one player isn't going to stop him. You need 11 all hats to the ball and basically that's what we did.''
Perkins said the Sooners "don't game plan for a single person.''
"It was definitely good to keep him under control,'' Perkins said.
Riley said the Sooners were able to make adjustments after Hubbard had rushed for 45 yards on five carries in the first quarter, including the 22-yard run.
"He had a little bit of room early, but we made a few adjustments and settled in a bit,'' Riley said. "The defensive line was pretty disruptive. There weren't too many clean running lanes after that first quarter. The few times he did get loose, we did a good job getting him on the ground. The long was a 22 ... if you told us that before the game, we would have taken it.''