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Oklahoma football: Grading the returns of Jalen Saunders, 'Riverboat Bob' Stoops and Blake Bell

OU REPORT CARD — Grading Oklahoma's 33-24 triumph over Oklahoma State produces high marks all around, especially for some Sooners making triumphant returns.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 7, 2013

photo - Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops gambled and won on Saturday. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops gambled and won on Saturday. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman


Sooner coach Bob Stoops contends that some of the plays that fans and media consider gambles aren't really that, but still, the Riverboat Gambler rolled the dice. A pass to a tight end. A double reverse. A fake field goal that resulted in a touchdown. And those were all on one drive. The Sooners took some chances Saturday, and when the coaches called them, the players made good on them.


What a day. It's impossible to overstate what a great day the third-string quarterback had. He came in after starter Trevor Knight was injured and back-up Kendal Thompson was ineffective. Bell took very few snaps in practice these past few weeks, but he was masterful. He was 10 of 16 for 140 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.


Time of possession is overrated, but ball control isn't. The Sooners had the ball for 34 minutes, 20 seconds, nearly nine minutes more than the Cowboys. They put together some sustained drives that kept the OSU offense sitting on the cold sidelines and shortened the game. And the Sooners had just one interception, an ill-advised pass thrown by back-up quarterback Kendal Thompson on his first snap of the game.


On OSU's senior day, OU had some seniors who played big. Safety Gabe Lynn made two tackles on the goal-line stand after missing a tackle on a big run earlier in the drive. Running back Brennan Clay rushed for 70 tough yards on 24 carries. Cornerback Aaron Colvin played with a still-injured shoulder and helped keep a talented OSU receving corps in check.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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