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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

STILLWATER — Winning a rivalry game on the road when you're an underdog takes lots of solid play — and that's what the Sooners got. High marks all around.


Oklahoma State is happy to have seen the last of Saunders. A year after returning a punt for a touchdown in Bedlam, the wide receiver/return man scored two of OU's three touchdowns on Saturday. He scored on a 64-yard punt return in the first quarter that gave the Sooners life, then snagged the game-winning 7-yard touchdown catch from Blake Bell with 19 seconds left.


With the offense struggling early, the Sooner punter twice pinned the Cowboys at their own 1-yard line. Reversing the field like that gave the Sooner defense a chance to work and helped the Sooner offense get some favorable field position. Barnett also kept OSU's dangerous return game in check. The Cowboys had no punt return yards.


The Cowboys converted only 2 of 13 on third down and 0 of 1 on fourth down. When the Sooner defense had a chance to get off the field, it did its job 86 percent of the time. That's amazing efficiency.


The Sooners weren't great on third down. Actually, that's being nice. They were horrid. They went 2 of 15, which would normally get them a failing grade, but they get high marks for late-down offense because of what they did on fourth down. The Sooners converted 3 of 3 on fourth down, including an 8-yard touchdown pass on a fake field goal.

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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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