DALLAS Since he's only 19 and was playing just his sixth college game, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford can be excused for thinking he can do things most quarterbacks wouldn't even try.
Like calling an audible on third-and-14 from his own 12 amid the roar of Texas fans. Or going long on third down to a guy who spent the last few series getting treatment for a sore hamstring.
Then again, Bradford is proving to be not-your-ordinary quarterback.
Facing a tough foe in a hostile setting, Bradford looked as comfortable as he did in his record-setting first few games against overmatched opponents, throwing for three touchdowns and hardly making a mistake while steering the No. 10 Sooners past the No. 19 Longhorns 28-21 in their annual grudge match Saturday.
"Sam, for as young as he is, has a lot of confidence and a lot of cool to him," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "He doesn't make too much of a situation. He trusts the guys around him to make plays."
Bradford, a redshirt freshman, came in as the nation's most efficient passer, but his numbers were piled up against inferior competition. This was his big test, coming off a 1-for-8 second half in a loss at Colorado and center stage in the 102nd meeting between these Red River rivals.
This game was all about survival in the Big 12 race after losses by both teams last weekend put them way behind in the national title chase.
Bradford was 21-of-32 for 244 yards, which might not sound great unless you consider the importance of his three touchdown passes putting OU up 7-0, 14-7 and 28-21. He also completed 12 straight passes between the second and fourth quarters.
Most importantly, he was clicking when Oklahoma (5-1, 1-1) really needed it.
"He always tells you, 'Let's get this.' That's his favorite quote," receiver Malcolm Kelly said. "No matter how bad we're getting beat or how we're not getting anything going, his demeanor never changes. He always let's us know we have a chance. And with Sam, you've got a chance."
Bradford went 5-of-5 on the first scoring drive, with completions of 14, 34, 39 and 41 yards, then a 1-yarder to Jermaine Gresham in the end zone. The 14-yarder came on the audible teammates could barely hear as they were surrounded by screaming fans in burnt orange.
The winning drive began at the 6 after Texas (4-2, 0-2) tied it and Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray picked up the ensuing kickoff at the 2 even though it appeared to be spinning out of bounds. Instead of bemoaning the field position or worrying about a mistake, Bradford came out firing and coaches trusted him to do so. He went 7-of-8; the only incompletion was a drop and the next snap was a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kelly, who missed most of the third quarter because his right hamstring cramped up.
"I think the coaches did a good job of getting us in good situations," Bradford said. "We had a good plan and when we got out there, things just got rolling."