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Some How, Some Way, OU Offense Manages To Do Just Enough To Win Bedlam

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Brett Deering

In a rivalry game (for those of you OU fans who consider Bedlam to be a rivalry) it's often not about the number of plays you make, but the magnitude and moment in which you make them.

Hard to find a more accurate way to describe what we saw from this Oklahoma offense on Saturday.

The game-winning drive Blake Bell would eventually lead this team to, after coming on in relief of an injured Trevor Knight and a somewhat ineffective Kendal Thompson, will live in Bedlam lore for eternity.

A beautifully placed throw to Jalen Saunders in the back corner of the end zone clinched a come from behind victory for the Sooners for a second consecutive year.

Where to start?

For a majority of the first half, the OU offense under the direction of Knight struggled. The redshirt freshman making just his second ever road start had some success on the ground, but could not duplicate that success through the air. Knight finished with a less than impressive 3-for-7 passing with just 28 yards. However, he would lead the offense on a clock-killing field goal drive to close out the first half with the game tied 10-10. Unfortunately, he would suffer what we know now was a shoulder injury on the final play prior to the field goal and would not return to the game.

Enter Thompson who, for some inexplicable reason, was asked to come in cold, off the bench, and immediately start throwing the football. Ignoring the fact that (1) that's not his strength and/or (2) that's not how OU was moving the football in the first half with a similar style of quarterback. Thompson would wind up throwing more passes (nine) in his limited action during the third quarter than Knight did (seven) in the entire first half.

The second half started with a bizarre game plan to rotate both Thompson and Bell in at quarterback. Between failing to put Thompson in a position to be successful and his own questionable decisions with the football, Bell would eventually take over and cement his place in Bedlam history.

It started with some nifty work to avoid a sack before making a perfect throw to, of all people, Brannon Green in the back of the end zone for what should have been a touchdown. However, Green failed to secure the ball before having it knocked away and negating a potential six points.

Fortunately, for everyone in crimson, Bob Stoops and special teams coach Jay Boulware would pull off one of the great fake field goals in OU history on the very next play.

Following that epic play, Bell would lead the Sooners on a field goal scoring drive to take a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The two teams would trade punts before the OSU passing game exploded and ripped off consecutive plays of 14, 27, 20, 23 yards respectively, moving the ball all the way from their 11-yard line to the OU five.

A Desmond Roland rushing touchdown three plays later seemingly locked things up for the favored Cowboys.

But Blake Bell was having none of that.

Amazingly, on eight consecutive pass plays (and one OSU pass interference penalty) Bell would eventually find Saunders on the aforementioned beautiful touchdown pass on a post corner route with just 0:19 remaining on the game clock.

It was a clutch as clutch game-winning drives come and it earned the Sooners a thrilling Bedlam victory.

Understandably, Bell is going to receive a lot of attention for his role in the victory and deservedly so. But this isn't a game OU wins without the contributions of Saunders, Brennan Clay, and Sterling Shepard. All three of whom were absolutely instrumental in the win.

Clay continues to just churn out yards on the ground and picked up multiple key first downs on several drives. And what can you say about Saunders in this game? The guy made plays all over the football field, possibly none bigger than his punt return touchdown to tie the game early when OU had almost no momentum. And Shepard made a bunch of yards after the catch to finish with a game high 112 yards receiving.

Crazy game that lived up to its moniker. Fortunately for us, OU came out on the winning side of things.

Man, what a freaking game!