Enthusiastic Fox announcer Gus Johnson was on the top of his game Saturday night in calling the West Virginia-OU game Sunday night. He referred to the sloppy third quarter as a “comedy of errors by both teams” and then nicely built up the intrigue as junior quarterback Blake Bell entered the game in the fourth quarter in relief of Trevor Knight.
Johnson related a conversation he had in the hotel Saturday with Bell's parents. “They said, ‘We want our son to get a chance.' They didn't call the coaches. But his father (Mark Bell), a former professional player, said, ‘Hey son, you're one play away. You may get your chance if you just stay positive.'”
Bell did just that in supplying a steady hand as the Sooners held on for the 16-7 victory.
Analyst Charles Davis noted in watching practice that Bell was mentally following each play by Knight. “He didn't lose himself when he lost the starting job,” said Davis, a former Tennessee defensive back.
As the game wound down, Johnson noted what will be going in coffee shops and on sports talk shows this week: Who now is the starting quarterback? “Will Blake Bell get his start against Tulsa?” he wondered.
In the third quarter, Davis questioned the Sooners strategy of continuing to throw the ball when the running attack was picking up steam. After Knight's first interception, he said, “Oklahoma coaches may have outguessed themselves a little bit with how well they are running the ball,” he said.
After Knight's second interception, Johnson said OU fans had to be wondering what was going on.
“If you're an Oklahoma fan and you haven't put your foot through the TV, you're scratching your head wondering what are they doing … running at will, but still trying to throw it.”
Davis spoke highly of fullback Trey Millard, referring to him as OU's best offensive player. After he caught a 1-yard touchdown pass, he said, “Look at the soft hands catching the football. How do you get a guy of his size and dimensions with soft hands and also a hammerhead at the point of attack blocking. He does it all for them.”
Linebacker Corey Nelson also was singled out for blanket pass coverage when the Mountaineers failed on a fourth-and-8. “They tried to isolate their virtual chess piece, Cody Clay, against a linebacker, but the linebacker, Corey Nelson, is a better athlete.”
Sideline reporter Kristina Pink was pretty much a no-show, adding little to the coverage. Fortunately, they didn't use her much. Maybe Fox can coax Erin Andrews back onto the college sidelines.
OSU'S MIXED MESSAGE
OSU's hurry-up offense impressed the Fox Sports 1 broadcast team of Justin Kutcher, James Bates and reporter Brady Poppinga, but the defense also left some question marks in the rout of Texas-San Antonio.
After J.W. Walsh connected with Josh Stewart on a 10-yard touchdown for the Cowboys' third touchdown, Kutcher said, “When they score, it doesn't take long.”
Bates, a middle linebacker on Florida's 1996 national title team, said, “I can barely get in a word before you go back to the play-by-play call. I can't imagine being a linebacker or safety trying to set this defense up. You got to be able to process in a hurry.”
The trio made Walsh the player of the game for his 24 of 27 performance for 326 yards. Kutcher noted he had more touchdown passes (4) than incompletions (3).
Bates said he was glad second-string quarterback Clint Chelf also made an impact after a disappointing start against Mississippi State last Saturday.
“They are going to need him this year,” he said.
Kutcher and Bates noted Chelf had an edge over Walsh in one category: hair. After a shot of Chelf's curly hair as he stood without his helmet on the sideline, Kutcher said, “He's got the better hair.”
Bates added, “With hair like that, you got to go to Alabama. That's an A.J. McCarron do.”
After Jhajuan Seales' 44-yard reception despite being double-covered, Bates credited OSU's ability to recruit big wide receivers. “If there's a big dude out there, it's not hard for Mike Gundy and company to say, ‘You want to be the next Justin Blackmon. You want to be the next Dez Bryant. Here's the spot to come to.'”
On defense, he noted OSU needed to shore up its attack, which allowed 504 yards. “Some of those costly, costly penalties need to be corrected.”
When speedy Kenny Bias blew through the Cowboy defense on a 67-yard TD catch, his third TD of the day, Bates got in the best line of the day. “Basically, it's a fitting last name. That 81, he keeps running right by us.”
— ESPN's “College GameDay” commentator Lee Corso's streak of picking five headgear games in a row came to an end Saturday at Ann Arbor, Mich. Lee Corso incorrectly picked Notre Dame, placing a green Irish bowler on his head while holding a chicken. The chicken was in reference to Michigan coach Brady Hoke noting the Irish were scared to the play the Wolverines in future seasons with no games scheduled. Mark Harmon, of “NCIS” fame and son of Michigan Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, was the guest picker.
— On CBS Sports Network, play-by-play announcer Ben Holden built up the drama as Colorado State called three timeouts in a row in trying to ice Tulsa kicker
Carl Salazar. But Salazar kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired for the 30-27 victory. “The 5-7 senior puts his foot into it to win the game,” Holden said. He promptly called (1-1) TU undefeated before being corrected by analyst Tom Bradley.