Then, he threw three consecutive incompletions for a quick three-and-out.
Then, he got sacked on third and long and forced the Sooners to punt again.
“We're in too many third and longs,” Sooner offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “At the end of the day, you can't go 2 of 13 on third down.”
Those third-and-longs forced the Sooners into passing situations. So did the Longhorns being able to build a sizeable lead. On a day that Bell wasn't throwing it great, that was a recipe for disaster.
“We haven't been good on the outside or in the middle of the field, anything past 15 yards,” Heupel said. “We've got to be better. There's explosive plays out there; we've just got to make ‘em.”
To make matters worse for Bell, the Longhorns built a defensive scheme around forcing him to throw. Greg Robinson and Co. didn't want him to run, and they especially didn't want him to run up the gut on them like he does to everybody else.
“He was frustrated,” said Robinson, the Texas defensive coordinator, “but he didn't know where to go. He'd rather not go outside. He'd rather come up the middle.
“Our guys were so disciplined. ... It's impressive what they did.”
Bell was never able to get on track, and as a result, neither was the Sooner offense.
To his credit, Bell stood and answered every question about his performance. He didn't pass the buck. He didn't give excuses. He accepted the blame.
“Bottom line,” he said, “we've just got to execute.”
It's become obvious that execution revolves around Bell. Play like he did at Notre Dame, and this team will be hard to beat. But play again like he did against Texas, and he won't be the only one shaking his head.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.