NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — A former quarterback himself, Oklahoma wide receiver Lacolton Bester was looking to pass in the third quarter against Texas Tech when he saw his primary receiver - quarterback Blake Bell - was covered.
Bester took off running. Thirty-five yards later, he was celebrating after a momentum-shifting touchdown scamper that gave the Sooners the lead for good in a 38-30 win over their previously undefeated foe.
As Bester's senior year progresses, No. 13 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) is finding creative ways to use his talents - be it catching, throwing or running with the football. Heading into Thursday's showdown at No. 5 Baylor (7-0, 4-0), Bester has turned himself into one of the Sooners' primary offensive weapons.
"The light kind of came on for Lacolton late spring last year and that's when you could start to see that maybe he'd have a chance to make an impact and he had a great summer," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "I could tell when we got him in two-a-days he was in a lot better shape than he'd been."
The 6-foot-3, 208-pound Bester, from Scooba, Miss., played quarterback in high school before transitioning to receiver during two years at East Mississippi Community College. As a sophomore, he caught 70 passes for 1,042 yards and 17 touchdowns before signing with Oklahoma.
But he struggled to gain traction in his first season, relegated mostly to special-teams duty and catching only three passes for 29 yards. His solution entering this season? Put in the time to get better.
"Coming from Mississippi, nothing's ever given anyway," he said. "I knew I had to work hard and do everything right, from blocking all the way up to catching. I knew that it would take everything that a receiver had to do for me to play."
His playing time soon increased. As a regular in the Sooners' rotation at receiver, he's caught 14 passes for 193 yards and one touchdown and his 13.8 yards-per-catch average is tops on the team.
He's one of 10 FBS players - including three wide receivers - who have recorded a receiving touchdown, a rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown this season. Bester is the first Oklahoma player to record that trifecta since Joe Wylie in 1970.
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