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Bedlam newcomers Jalen Saunders, Justin Brown lead Oklahoma past Oklahoma State, 51-48

by Jason Kersey Modified: November 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm •  Published: November 24, 2012

class="body">Brown finished with a game-high 15 catches for 146 yards, while Saunders — in addition to his electric special-teams play — caught 10 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown.

“What can I say about Justin? What can I say about Jalen?” said OU quarterback Landry Jones. “They both came up with huge catches. Justin ran a corner route and the cornerback was all over him.

“Those two guys add so much to this offense, and add so much to our game plan. It’s been truly a pleasure to have those guys. I’m really glad they decided to transfer here.”

The two additions were particularly welcome after three experienced OU receivers — Jaz Reynolds, Trey Franks and Kameel Jackson — were suspended indefinitely just after spring practices.

Reynolds and Franks remain suspended from games, and Jackson was eventually dismissed.

The suspensions left Stills as OU’s only returning receiver with any big-time college football experience — until Brown and Saunders arrived.

Brown was a three-year starter at PennState who opted to transfer after the NCAA — in response to the child-abuse scandal — levied harsh sanctions against the school.

Saunders was a first-team All-WAC selection at FresnoState last season, and transferred because of a family illness made worse by the atmosphere surrounding the school.

The NCAA initially denied Saunders’ waiver request for immediately eligibility, but his appeal was eventually approved before the Oct. 13 Red River Rivalry game against Texas.

Saunders set a school record with his eight first-quarter receptions in Oklahoma’s Oct. 27 loss to current No. 1 Notre Dame.

When the Sooners’ offense returned to the field Saturday with a little over six minutes remaining and OU trailing by a touchdown, Jones relied heavily on the transfer duo.

The senior quarterback connected with Saunders and Brown on four first-down plays over the drive, which ended with four seconds left in regulation when Blake Bell ran for a game tying, 4-yard touchdown.

“We all help each other,” Saunders said of the OU receiver group, “but me and Justin chat a lot. We’ve all come along and we’re like brothers.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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