NORMAN — For one game — or at least three quarters — all was right with the Oklahoma offense.
The Sooners beat Texas Tech 38-30 Saturday on Owen Field, and they did it with remarkable offensive efficiency and variety, traits which had been virtually nonexistent the past few weeks.
Junior quarterback Blake Bell played mostly mistake-free football. The Sooners scored on long, time-consuming drives, and hit pay dirt on a long pass play.
“When we can move the ball up the field like we did, and those long plays and long chunks, that's what you want as an offense, along with putting points on the board,” Bell said.
The Sooners' offense didn't get off to a great start, though. In the first quarter, Oklahoma's four drives ended with a missed field goal, a fumble and two punts.
Texas Tech led by seven when it pinned the Sooners at their own 3-yard line early in the second quarter. But throughout the ensuing 16-play, 97-yard touchdown drive, Oklahoma's offense finally found its footing and didn't look back.
On the drive — Oklahoma's longest of the season — the Sooners successfully converted on three third-down attempts, and moved the chains with an effective mix of running and passing.
After Texas Tech fumbled away its next possession, Bell threw his best deep pass of the season, hitting senior receiver Jalen Saunders in stride for a 76-yard touchdown that gave Oklahoma its first lead of the game.
Bell completed 14 of his 22 pass attempts for 249 yards and two touchdowns, and also rushed for 44 yards on nine carries. He hadn't passed for more than 180 yards in a game since the Sooners' win at Notre Dame on Sept. 28.
Oklahoma went into halftime with a 14-7 lead, and took the ball 86 yards in 11 plays on the first drive of the second half to open a two-touchdown advantage. On that scoring drive, senior running back Damien Williams carried the ball seven times for 70 of his game-high 97 rushing yards.
Oklahoma held onto the ball for 18:34 of the second half, keeping Texas Tech's high-powered offense on the sideline.
“That was big-time for us tonight, especially against that great Texas Tech offense,” Bell said. “They spread it out and they can swing it all over the field. Obviously our defense did a great job of getting us stops when they needed to, but we felt as an offense, whenever we had the opportunity, there was a sense of urgency to move the ball down the field.”
Even after the Red Raiders kicked a field goal, recovered an onside kick and quickly scored a touchdown to take a 24-21 lead late in the third, Oklahoma's offense responded with a resilience it hasn't shown this season in high-pressure, adverse situations.
The Sooners retook the lead for good three minutes later, when senior receiver Lacoltan Bester improvised for a 35-yard touchdown run on a well-covered reverse pass.
“We're resilient,” said coach Bob Stoops. “We don't get down. Our guys kept positive, kept fighting, knew we were capable of making our plays.
“I've got to compliment our fans and student body and band. They jumped in when they were able to. That helps charge the players' energy. All of it together, we were able to make the plays to keep everybody charged up and steal momentum back when we needed to.”