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Oklahoma football report card: Win over an undefeated Texas Tech earns Sooners high marks

by Jenni Carlson Published: October 26, 2013

Beating an undefeated team this late in the season takes a solid performance, and the grades from Oklahoma's 38-30 victory against Texas Tech reflect that. High marks for Blake Bell, the run game and late-down defense.


This was the Blake Bell that Sooner Nation expected to see when he took over the starting quarterback job. After a couple weeks of inconsistent play, Bell was rock solid. He went 14 of 22 for 249 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran the ball nine times for 44 yards. But the best thing about his performance was the way he delivered when the Sooners needed him most. Trailing by a touchdown and sputtering on offense early in the second quarter, Bell led a 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive. He was 6 of 8 on the drive and 3 of 3 on third down. Then after Texas Tech cut the lead to five points late, Bell engineered a clock-eating, 12-play drive that ended with a Michael Hunnicutt field goal. Bell only threw the ball twice on the drive, but both went for catches, including a critical 13-yard pass to Sterling Shepard on third-and-long.


A masterful job by Josh Heupel. Was every play golden? Nah. But the mix from the Sooners offensive coordinator, especially from the second quarter on, worked fantastically. Heupel dialed up some longer passes that gave the running game some room to breathe.


OU has managed to run the ball well even as defenses have stacked the box, but with the Sooners hitting a couple of big passes Saturday, it opened up the run game even more. And Damien Williams, Roy Finch and Co. took advantage. They rushed for 277 yards, let by Williams' 97 yards on 19 carries and Finch's 55 yards on eight carries.


The Sooners kept Texas Tech quarterback Davis Webb on the move. They managed only four quarterback hurries, but there were other times where Webb looked like he was anticipating pressure and let the ball go too soon. He finished 33 of 53 for 385 yards, but he had two interceptions to go along with two touchdowns.


Starting linebacker Frank Shannon was injured early in the game — the extent of the injury is unknown — and that left the Sooners playing two true freshmen at linebacker much of the game. Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans weren't perfect, but they combined to make 12 tackles, break up one pass and get one quarterback hurry. And even with their inexperience, many of the alignment issues that the Sooners had last week at Kansas were gone. A pretty strong day for a couple of newbies.


The Sooners were 8 of 15 on third- and fourth-down conversions, including a perfect 4 of 4 on that 16-play, 97-yard drive in the second quarter. They converted with the pass. They converted with the run. And considering they were going against a defense that had been statistically one of the best in the country on third down, their conversion rate was spectacular.

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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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