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OU football: How Texas Belldozed the Belldozer

COMMENTARY — It seems like just the other day that Blake Bell was Oklahoma's South Bend hero. But on Saturday in his Cotton Bowl debut, his play was the biggest reason the Sooners were routed.
by Jenni Carlson Published: October 12, 2013

DALLAS — Blake Bell looked at the stat sheet emotionless at first, then he started shaking his head ever so slightly.

The more he read, the more he shook.

“We didn't play well as an offense,” the Oklahoma quarterback said. “It's as simple as that.”

And Bell was the biggest reason why.

On an afternoon when Texas shocked OU 36-20 and pulled one of the bigger upsets in this rivalry's storied history, there was plenty of blame to go around on the Sooner sideline. But at the end of the day, this game boiled down to one simple fact.

OU lost because it couldn't throw a lick.

Two weeks ago when he threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns at Notre Dame, Bell was the Boy Wonder. The Chosen One. The Golden Dome Star.

Now, he's the Red River Flop.

Even though Bell played in the rivalry game a year ago and scored four touchdowns out of the Belldozer package, he made his Red River Rivalry debut as the Sooner starter on Saturday. He went 12 of 26 for 133 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a Texas touchdown. He had seven rushes for minus-27 yards.

It was Bomarian.

In 2005, Rhett Bomar went 12 of 33 for 94 yards and an interception in his Red River debut. With an inexperienced offense and a hobbled Adrian Peterson, Bomar and the Sooners managed no play longer than 9 yards in the first three quarters.

It was ugly.

Bell and the Sooners weren't quite that bad Saturday. But as Red River debuts go, it was completely and utterly forgettable.

“Blake needs to keep improving,” Sooner coach Bob Stoops said, “but ... like all quarterbacks do, they need some support around them, too.”

No doubt Bell lacked that support in numerous instances Saturday.

On the Sooners' first possession, Bell threw a beautiful pass to Brennan Clay in the end zone. It was over his shoulder. It was right in his hands.

Clay dropped it.

Is it tough for a running back to make an over-the-shoulder, on-the-run catch?

Sure.

But that was a play Clay needed to make. Instead of popping the Longhorns in the mouth with a touchdown, the Sooners settled for a field goal.

On the Sooners' next possession, Lacoltan Bester was the one doing Bell no favors. Bester wasn't even looking when Bell threw his way, and Longhorn lineman Chris Whaley was the beneficiary, snagging the ball and rumbling 31 yards for a touchdown. It was Bell's first interception of the season, and even though it wasn't all his fault, the play seemed to send Bell reeling.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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