The Norman Transcript

October 23, 2013

Missed connections

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — If there’s one pass Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell would like to have back from the Kansas game, it would be the interception he threw on the fourth-down play in the third quarter.

The interception didn’t hurt OU, it actually backed up Kansas three yards more than an incompletion would have.

What hurt was Bell had fullback/tight end Aaron Ripkowski wide open for a touchdown in the middle of the field. Bell didn’t realize until he saw the video of the game Monday.

“All week, we’re working on that play and stuff. It was one of those things where my eyes are out there on Trey (Millard) for a while and I was wanting to throw it to him and I saw a backer get underneath it. It made me skip Rip and my other read and go right into Sterling (Shepard) in the middle,” Bell said. “I was thinking I was going to put it right on him and a backer was on him. It just plays out so quick. Obviously as a quarterback you want that one back and lay it out there to him and let him make a play.”

Ripkowski hasn’t touched the ball in his three seasons at OU and wasn’t upset Bell missed him Saturday.

“I also realize there were a lot of people in his face and he probably couldn’t see what was going on,” Ripkowski said.

First time is really the charm: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops has a remarkable record when comes to facing Big 12 coaches for the first time. In his previous 14 seasons, Stoops is 19-1 under those scenarios. He’ll go for win No. 20 when the Sooners face Texas Tech at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field.

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury is in his first season as the Red Raiders’ head coach. The last conference coach to win when facing OU for the first time was Les Miles as Oklahoma State’s coach in 2001.

The Sooners have won the last 15 under those circumstances.

Tech coach knows all about Owen Field atmosphere: The last time No. 10 Texas Tech came to Norman in position to win a Big 12 title was 2008. That came turned into 65-21 rout for the Sooners, and ended up being a springboard for them to win a Big 12 championship.

Outside of the stunning 41-38 victory at Owen Field in 2011, the Red Raiders haven’t much success in Norman.

Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury was the Red Raiders quarterback when he last came to OU in 2002 and lost 60-15.

“It’s a huge challenge anytime you go to that stadium,” he said. “It’s one of the storied stadiums in college football. Their fans are crazy, hostile, intense. It’s a great college football atmosphere.”

Ups and downs: Opinions change quickly on players. No one understands that better than Bell. He looked like OU’s next great quarterback in wins over Tulsa and Notre Dame. Many wondered why he still has the job after struggling in the last three games against TCU, Texas and Kansas.

“That’s just the part of playing quarterback. If you are doing good, everyone is with you. If you are doing bad, they might not be. That’s the part of playing quarterback,” he said. “You have to have an even keel and keep coming every day and battling and trying to get better.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com