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Oklahoma football: Mr. Bedlam (Blake Bell) strikes again

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — After only getting third-team reps for most of the last couple weeks, Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell turned Bedlam hero again.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 7, 2013

Four plays later, the Sooners scored.

A year after his last-second, fourth-down touchdown run forced Bedlam overtime, he came off the bench after getting only a handful of reps these past two weeks and gave the Sooners an unexpected Bedlam victory.

Call him Mr. Bedlam.

Or should we start calling this Bell-lam?

“I'm so proud of Blake,” said Sooner running back Brennan Clay, who roomed with Bell as a freshman. “What he did in that last drive, just showing resiliency and being a true, mature quarterback back in the pocket ... kudos to him.”

Kudos, indeed.

Only one other OU quarterback can say he beat Notre Dame and OSU in the same season, and that was Jimmy Harris, one of the most beloved Sooners of all time.

Who knows what comes next for Bell. He might start every game the rest of his career, or he might never start again.

Heck, who knows who'll even start the bowl game.

“Hey, it's up in the air,” Bell said. “Maybe Gabe Ikard.”

Unlikely that the Sooner center and Bell's good friend will start at quarterback, but Bell laughed at the notion as he headed up a ramp near the visitor's locker room and out to the buses Saturday afternoon. He walked out the doors into the December cold, and a cheer went up from the players' families waiting near the street.

Bell made his way quickly to those familiar faces from the stands. He hugged mom, Sherry, then dad, Mark, then brother and uncle and cousins. These were the same folks who rented a house in South Bend, Ind., for Notre Dame weekend, months before a starting quarterback was named, then kept it after Bell was passed over.

And there they were Saturday in Stillwater braving the bitter cold even though no one expected Bell to take one snap, much less win the game.

“What it means is everything,” Mark Bell said, his eyes moistening. “I'm so proud of Blake. The roller coaster Blake's gone through, he's just been awesome.”

The proud papa kept gathering different people for pictures. First, Bell with his parents. Then, parents and brother. Then, dad and uncle. And finally, the whole family gathered for a shot with the Bedlam hero standing in the middle.

Again, Bell smiled from ear to ear.

Those pictures will soon be framed.

“Absolutely,” Mark Bell said.

Now, his eyes twinkled.

“We're gonna celebrate tonight, too.”

* Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at, follow her at or view her personality page at

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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Oklahoma players sound off on quarterback Blake Bell, who went from third team to Bedlam hero Saturday:

Center Gabe Ikard

“Blake probably took maybe five reps all week in practice because our plan was to use a QB run game, and obviously, Trevor (Knight) and Kendal (Thompson) fit that mold better than Blake, but for him to come in and do that, take us right down the field and throw a game-winning touchdown pass ... that's incredible. It shows you a lot about who he is as a guy, what kind of character he has. I'm just extremely proud of him.”

Receiver Sterling Shepard

“He's never stopped fighting.”

Running back Brennan Clay on the last drive

“Him and I made eye contact. We just winked at each other. We knew we were up to the task; we knew that. We knew it was going to come down to the wire, so we never lost faith or any confidence going into that drive. We knew we could punch it in.”


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