Any chance of winning a continuous offensive shootout ended when starting quarterback Trevor Knight suffered a left shoulder injury late in the first half. It spent much of the third quarter treading water until it junked its offensive game plan and put Blake Bell in the game.
The Sooners didn’t truly put the game in Bell’s hands until that final drive, where he threw for 81 yards on an 89-yard game-winning drive that ended with his 8-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders with 24 seconds to go.
The same guy who lost the job after suffering a concussion Nov. 16, got off the deck and led the Sooners to their biggest win of the season Dec. 7.
“Once I got in the rhythm of the game, yeah, I felt like everything was clicking,” Bell said.
Little had clicked for Bell since September. He seemed to plateau after leading OU to a victory over Notre Dame late that month. Outside of throwing for 249 yards against Texas Tech on Oct. 26, Bell struggled.
But when the game and the season was on the line, he was at his best and he wasn’t alone.
The most dynamic player on the field Saturday was Saunders. He only had 39 receiving yards, but he also rushed for 49 and had 64-yard punt return for a touchdown that kept OU in the game in the first half.
“Jalen Saunders again made the plays, and in this game that’s a big factor,” Stoops said.
They always are when an underdog wins. The Sooners will be in that same position when they face No. 3 Alabama in AllState Sugar Bowl Jan. 2 in New Orleans. They’ve already been installed as a 10-point underdog — just like Bedlam.
OSU found out how tough the Sooners can be to slay.
“It’s a great victory, especially since we kinda just patched it together. We have Jalen return a punt, you have Hunnicutt catch a touchdown on a fake, you know, it’s one of those games where it wasn’t pretty,” OU center Gabe Ikard said, “but we got it done.”
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