By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Oklahoma’s win over Tulsa didn’t cause much of a move in the polls. It remained at No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 released Sunday. OU climbed a spot to No. 12 in the USA Today coaches’ poll.
The Big 12 Conference was down to three teams in the AP poll. Oklahoma State rose one spot to No. 11 and Baylor jumped two spots to No. 20. However, TCU fell out of the poll after its loss to Texas Tech on Thursday.
The Red Raiders did jump into the coaches poll at No. 25.
Short passes return: One thing Bell did that boosted the offense and substantially padded his passing statistics was deliver short passes on the money. Screen passes to receivers were highly effective against Tulsa.
“They executed all of our screen game a lot better, and that’s what we worked hard on. We worked hard on that and it showed up today,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
Running back Roy Finch scored on a 29-yard screen pass midway through the second quarter and Durron Neal set up another second quarter touchdown with a 44-yard catch and run on a screen pass.
Defensive issues: Injuries to cornerback Aaron Colvin and safety Gabe Lynn had some effect on the defense’s play. It allowed a season-high 20 points against Tulsa.
But players said they lacked the focus they had in the first two games.
“It wasn’t that different; we didn’t come out as physical and up front we didn’t play with much technique,” defensive end Charles Tapper said.
Limit the hits: OU quarterback Blake Bell carried the ball 11 times Saturday (he was sacked once), but none of the hits were anything compared to the hits he took as the quarterback in OU’s short-yardage package the previous two seasons.
He understands he has to limit the time he lowers his shoulder to pick up some extra yards.
“There is a big difference,” he said. “Last year with the package, I came in when Landry (Jones) was the main quarterback. I came in and my job was third and short and goal line, and that stuff was rough. I had to come in and lower my shoulder. Now, you see me out there on some of those runs, and I’ll slide. You don’t want to take any of those unnecessary hits.”
In the history books: Wide receiver Jaz Reynolds, who did not play last season due a suspension, delivered a breakout performance against the Golden Hurricane with four catches for 109 yards. His 82-yard catch on OU’s second possession was the longest play in the program’s history that failed to score a touchdown.
Like the scenario: One of the reasons OU agreed to move up its conference opener with West Virginia to the season’s second week was so it would not have two bye weeks in September and so it could have a week off before its non-conference showdown at No. 22 Notre Dame Sept. 28.
“To have two off weeks and just having two games wouldn’t have been very good,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “I like how it’s set up now.”
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