Sooner Offense Saved By The Bell In 42-34 Win Over Baylor

Brett Deering

Two turnovers threatened to let the game slip away from Oklahoma but Blake Bell saved the day with a 55-yard dash.

Blake Bell was just supposed to get a first down. His previous attempts were thwarted by penalties (from both sides) that put Landry Jones back on the field and Oklahoma back into their conventional offense. However, this time everything went right. No one jumped, everyone blocked, and 55 yards later Bell was celebrating in the end zone on what would ultimately be a potentially game saving touchdown.

Beating Baylor wasn't supposed to be this difficult for OU. The Bears were tops in the nation in passing offense but somewhere close to nonexistent in defense. Yet the Sooners found themselves in desperate need of a first down that would keep a hopeful scoring drive alive.

Lache Seastrunk scored with eight minutes left in the third to draw Baylor to within two points at 28-26. Damien Williams gave Oklahoma fans a little relief from their anxiety when he scored from 17 yards out to put the Sooners up 35-26 but everyone knew that wasn't quite comfortable enough.

After seeing his opportunity ruined by penalty in his three previous attempts, Blake Bell was back on the field for a fourth time. The Sooners still had the nine point lead, and were wanting more, but a third and one stood in their way. Bell took the snap, was able to hesitate just long enough for a hole to open to his left, and then he was gone. Fifty-five yards later he was celebrating in the end zone with Bronson Iwrin and the entire stadium breathed the collective sigh of relief.

"Everyone's down and all of a sudden the o-line did a great job picking up the linebackers," Bell said when asked about his run. "Bronson Irwin, Trey Milliard, Aaron Ripkowski and all those guys came through man-on-man and it just split. I finally got to get out in the open a little bit. I was making sure I wasn't going to get caught on that one, I wanted to get to the end zone. After sitting over there for a couple quarters trying to stay loose and you bust out on one, it feels kind of weird. All of a sudden you think someone is going to get you. When you see the end zone, you want to get there."

Bell's run was exactly what the Sooner offense needed. It was that spark on a day that was full of misfires. Earlier in the second half it was back-to-back turnovers by Oklahoma's offense that allowed Baylor back into the game, and with the way this season has turned out for OU, you don't want any opponent having a fighter's chance late in the game. That's why the Bell run was so important! Like many opponents, Baylor had given Oklahoma their best shot but Bell provided the knockout punch. His score was the longest running play by a Sooner quarterback since 1998 and it put the game just out of reach for the Bears, who would score again but then had to rely on an onside kick.

Overall Oklahoma's offense wasn't bad on Saturday, it just wasn't really good. The Sooners managed 457 yards, Damien Williams averaged 4.3 yards per carry, and Landry Jones completed almost 70% of his passes. However, it was the hiccups that came in the form of penalties and turnovers that seemed to make the biggest impression on the fans.

It wasn't the six touchdowns that fans walked out of the stadium talking about. Rather, it was the fumble by Damien Williams, the interception by Landry Jones and the illegal snap penalties by Ty Darlington. It has almost become the culture of Sooner Nation to overlook the good and focus on the bad, which should make us all the more thankful for Blake Bell. Had it not been for his fourth quarter touchdown, there could have been a whole lot more bad to focus on.

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