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Oklahoma football: Win on road is great, but problems persist in Soonerville

JENNI CARLSON COMMENTARY — Winning on the road is great and all, but who would have thought the Sooners needed a trick play and a blocked punt in gain momentum vs. Big 12 cellar dweller Kansas?
by Jenni Carlson Published: October 19, 2013

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They probably would've been so far out of it that they wouldn't have been able to come back.

The issues were clearly wearing on coaches. At one point, TV cameras caught defensive coordinator Mike Stoops getting into it with defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery. Things got so verbally heated at one point that Bob Stoops had to step in and separate them.

His message seemed clear: “We're not going to do that.”

Heck, sometimes that kind of passion on the sidelines is needed, but whoever thought that coaches would be fighting during a game against Kansas?

The Jayhawks haven't won a conference game since 2010. It's been so long ago that their last win came against Colorado.

Still, they gave the Sooners trouble.

And then, the Sooners had some trouble all on their own.

Blake Bell was inconsistent again, clicking along one minute, going into a little funk the next. For example, he opened the second half on a bit of a roll. A 15-yard run. A 10-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard. A 13-yard pass to Jalen Saunders. Another run. A couple more passes. Then out of nowhere, he fails to hit a wide, wide, wide open Aaron Ripkowski.

Worse, Bell throws an interception on the play.

“There still a lot to be made out there,” Bell said. “A lot of plays, deeper routes, stuff like that.”

Bell finished the day 15 of 25 for 131 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

He also ran for 53 yards on 10 carries.

Which begged a question — where was that quarterback run game a week ago?

At times, Josh Heupel and his play calling were still a bit of a head scratcher again this week. There were times where the Sooners got predictable, giving the ball to Brennan Clay on three straight plays or throwing it on three consecutive downs. Predictably, the Sooners ended up punting in both of those situations.

But the worst moment of all came on the Sooners' first possession of the second quarter. Facing fourth and 3 from the Kansas 42-yard line, OU looked like it wanted to go for it. Bell and the offense were on the field, but as the play clock wound down, Ripkowski ran off the field and Trey Millard ran on. Even then, players were looking to the sideline for the play. Bell was giving the call to the offensive line when the play clock hit zero.

It was messy enough to bring back haunting memories of the John Blake era.

“We've got to get a lot better,” Ikard said. “We've got to play better than we did today.”

Things improved Saturday, most notably in the win column and you can feel good about that, Sooner fans.

But clearly, this team has problems that couldn't even be hidden in a game against Kansas.

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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