By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Perhaps never before has anticipation met opportunity in quite the same way at Owen Field.
That’s because Blake Bell’s record-setting quarterback debut was preceded by a pre--game moment that might have foreshadowed it.
Probably several thousand of the fans in attendance for Oklahoma’s 51-20 victory over Tulsa thought Bell should have been OU’s starting quarterback prior to Saturday, and not just this season, but at different times over the previous two seasons.
Well, when Bell introduced himself on OU’s giant video board above the south end zone a few minutes before the kickoff, the crowd erupted in a way it hadn’t for any other play at any other time this season. The response might have been twice as loud as any other play received Saturday and the previous two Saturdays.
Call it Karma: Last week, it was the Selmon brothers — Lucious, Lee Roy and Dewey — who adorned the tickets and game program for OU’s game with West Virginia. Saturday, it was the late Derrick Shepard, who played wide receiver for the Sooners in the middle 80s and whose son, Sterling, is also an OU wide receiver.
Well, on the day his father was honored, Sterling Shepard led Sooner pass catchers with eight grabs for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Derrick Shepard died Aug. 4, 1999.
Too early for students: Saturday was the first 11 a.m. kickoff at OU since the Sooners 26-6 victory over Iowa State on Nov. 26, 2011.
The early time did not appear to suit Sooner students, who never approached, not even for a little while, filling up the student section. Despite that fact, 84,229 attended the game, which officially counted as OU’s 89th consecutive sellout.
Who knew the rule? For a moment, when OU safety Gabe Lynn appeared to have been thrown out of the game for targeting Tulsa running back Trey Watts, OU coach Bob Stoops and the crowd both became very animated, upset with the call.
After a review, Lynn was reinstated, though the penalty, by rule, was forced to stand. Stoops knew this, but the crowd didn’t appear to know, still reacting vociferously when the penalty — half the distance to the goal — was marked off in the first quarter.