ESPN2 analyst Ray Bentley was so impressed with Blake Bell's first start as an OU quarterback that he said he had locked up the job, although he mistakingly called him “the Bulldozer” instead of his trademark nickname, “the Belldozer.”
“Trevor Knight is out with a knee injury,” Bentley said. “I don't think he'll get back in.”
Bell's 27 of 37 passing for 413 yards and four touchdowns made a believer of Bentley, a former NFL linebacker, and play-by-play announcer Dave Lemming, a San Francisco Giants radio announcer. The pair called a solid game with few mistakes.
After noting Bell's power running ability, Bentley said, “With his arm is where he's been outstanding today. The accuracy of his throws has really been eye-opening.”
He also credited Bell's poise in the pocket. However, in the second half, he noted Bell threw the ball high a few times. “He needs to throw the ball on a line and lead his receiver,” he said after an end zone incompletion.
Among Bentley's other comments:
* After safety Gabe Lynn was initially ejected for targeting, the ruling was reduced to allow him to stay in the game. Bentley wasn't sure it was even a penalty: “It looked to me like the shoulder made initial contact … That's a great football play.”
When Lynn intercepted a pass: “I think that's justification for Gabe Lynn, getting to stay in the game.”
* After Jalen Saunders' 28-yard punt return: “You can see he's just going to jump out of his shoes. But you got to make a better move on the punter.”
* On Tulsa running back Trey Watts, son of former OU quarterback J.C. Watts: “He's as good a receiver as he is a running back. A guy like that has a chance to play at the next level.”
After Watts' 77-yard punt return: “Look at him break all those arm tackles. He won't go down with a single arm tackle.”
* After Tulsa had cut OU's lead to 37-20 in a “sloppy” second half, he credited running back Roy Finch for the sparking the Sooners with a 48-yard run. “I think Finch got his offensive line a little excited. They just busted open a huge hole for him.”
* On power running of OU freshman running back Keith Ford: “They list him at 5-11, 205. He's running like he's 255.”
The ESPN2 graphics people made a couple of mistakes, incorrectly noting that Knight had gotten the targeting penalty (Knight and Lynn share No. 9) and Ahmad Thomas had caught a 44-yard pass when it actually was Sterling Shepard.
Fox Sports Oklahoma's crew of Ron Thulin, Dave Lapham and Jim Knox worked hard to keep OSU's mismatch against Lamar interesting. At times, the commentary bordered on silliness.