OU football: Belldozer offense was quieted early but couldn't be silenced for long against OSU
- Junior wide receiver Jalen Saunders' 81-yard punt return for a touchdown 28%
- Sophomore quarterback Blake Bell's four-yard game-tying rushing touchdown 26%
- Junior Running back Brennan Clay's 18-yard game-winning rushing touchdown 46%
57 total votes.
The 51-48 overtime win against Oklahoma State on Saturday was the end of senior quarterback Landry Jones’ era in Norman and an important lesson for and next season’s heir apparent, sophomore quarterback Blake Bell.
Oklahoma didn’t lead during any of the game’s regular 60 minutes of action, but the Sooners were able to put together a comeback and come away with the team’s ninth Bedlam victory in 10 outings.
The offense said it never thought about throwing in the towel because the team trusts the two experienced quarterbacks OU routinely uses.
“We knew we could count on Landry because of the way he conducts his offense and knows it to a tee,” junior running back Brennan Clay said. “And it’s always amazing (to see Bell) make one and two guys miss and be able to fall forward.”
But Bell experienced some setbacks with the Belldozer package against OSU, mainly because opposing defenses know what to defend against when No. 10 takes over at quarterback. The Cowboys tripped up Bell during the first couple of outings, limiting the rusher to just two yards during the first half before forcing two fumbles during the Belldozer variations that included handing the ball to junior fullback Trey Millard during one of the miscues.
“Defensively, OSU had great schemes for us, and give them that credit,” Bell said.
Although a couple of wrinkles to the package were revealed when Bell handed off the ball to junior running back Roy Finch in the first quarter and then Millard in the third, the simplicity of the short yardage play hasn’t changed since the Sooners starting using the offensive option a year ago.
“All you’re thinking about is getting in the endzone or getting the first down,” Bell said.
And with Saturday’s game coming down to the wire, Bell had a front-row seat to Jones’ ability to get OU back to the redzone during the game’s final offensive series, watching the offense march from OU’s own 14-yard line to getting within four yards of potentially tying up the game late in the fourth quarter.
And the fourth time was the charm for the Belldozer.
Even with the clock winding down and the game’s adrenaline flowing through his veins, Bell said he remained zoned in with the play before he hurdled over OSU defenders to score OU’s game-tying touchdown that sent the contest into overtime. Having that type of patience is something Bell had to learn last year as a freshman; now he says it’s second nature to the man with an offensive scheme that carries his namesake.
“You have to just let the play develop and rely on guys like (sophomore fullback Aaron) Ripkowski to get their blocks,” Bell said. “We run through it so much, you just know when to do it.”
Even OSU coach Mike Gundy said he felt like the Cowboy defense had a good game plan to limit the Belldozer’s success to start the contest, but Bell proved he would not be denied a chance to get into the endzone.
“I thought that we had him in the backfield on the tying touchdown,” Gundy said. “He’s a big guy, and he made some guys miss and broke tackles.”
Next season, the Sooners could be relying on Bell to do more than his limited appearances on short-yardage situations. And Saturday’s come-from-behind win over OSU is an experience Bell won’t soon forget.
“There’s nothing like that feeling when you beat Oklahoma State in overtime on your home field when none of the fans left and everyone’s standing there,” Bell said.