LaColtan Bester has joined an exclusive OU club. Not since 1970 has a Sooner run for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass and thrown a TD pass all in the same season. But Bester has now.
Bester caught a TD pass against Notre Dame, threw a TD pass against Kansas and ran for a touchdown against Texas Tech, the latter last Saturday.
Not since Joe Wylie 43 years ago has a Sooner achieved such a triple crown.
Bester, a senior wide receiver from Scooba, Miss., who transferred a year ago from East Mississippi Community College, has emerged as a playmaker for OU, after playing sparingly in 2012 (three catches total).
“The light kind of came on for LaColtan late spring,” Bob Stoops said. “That’s when you started to see, he’s going to have a chance to make an impact. When I could tell was in two-a-days; he was in a lot better shape.”
Two straight weeks, Josh Heupel has dialed up the end-around pass. Bester threw a beauty to Sterling Shepard for a 49-yard TD at Kansas. Then against Tech, on a throwback to Blake Bell, the Red Raiders covered it well, so Bester tucked the ball and weaved through traffic, reversing his field for a 35-yard TD.
“You know what he said?” Stoops reported. “He had the confidence to put it there, but he was worried about leading Blake too much. ‘I’d have made the throw, but I was worried about Blake.’”
Stoops said Bester made the right decision. “If there’s any question, it’s always a good play, pull it down, get what you can,” Stoops said. “And the entire team hustling downfield did a great job blocking for him.”
So now Bester joins quite a list. While the Sooners went 43 years without such a versatile touchdown maker, OU once had such players routinely throw for a TD, run for a TD and catch a TD in the same season.
Brewster Hobby did it in 1958. Hobby also did it in 1957 and was joined by two teammates – David Baker and Jakie Sandefer. Sandefer, in fact, scored only seven touchdowns that entire season but did so five different ways. Rushing, passing, receiving, interception return, punt return.
Tommy McDonald, who in 1955 led the Sooners in rushing, passing and receiving (roll that one around in your head for awhile), pulled off the scoring trio in 1956.
So did Larry Griggs in 1953.
And Jack Mitchell in 1947. General Jack also had a punt return for a TD in ’47. Mitchell has a case for being OU’s most underappreciated great player ever.
Clendon Thomas scored five different ways in his career, 1955-57, but never a bundle in the same season.
Darrell Royal scored four ways during his career, 1946-49, including three ways in 1947 – rushing, passing and fumble return.
Antwone Savage, 1999-2002, scored four ways – including a kickoff return, a TD pass and a TD catch in 2001, plus a rushing touchdown in 2000.
And Mark Bradley, 2003-04, scored four ways, including three in 2003 — on a kickoff return, a TD catch and a TD pass. Bradley also had a touchdown run in 2004.