The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 8, 2013

In upset win, Oklahoma’s Bell goes from the bench to the history books

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

STILLWATER, Okla. — Just call Blake Bell Mr. Bedlam.

He’s never started against Oklahoma State, but the Oklahoma quarterback always seems to find a way in the fourth quarter to beat the arch-rival Cowboys.

Bell, who was OU’s third option at quarterback Saturday, would complete nine of 14 passes for 134 yards in the final quarter to spark a 33-24 Sooner upset victory.

“I just wanted to get something going,’’ said Bell, who was called on to take the reins in the fourth period after an injury to starter Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson being ineffective (2 of 9 passing for 16 yards.

“Coach (offensive coordinator Josh) Heupel preaches to us every day that everybody needs to be ready for their time, because you don’t know when it’s going to be.’’

Knight went out at halftime after injuring his non-throwing shoulder. Thompson came in, OU coach Bob Stoops said, because the coaches said he would be better at the zone read option the game plan was centered around.

When OSU loaded the box to stop that, Bell was inserted for his passing.

Bell, who sent last year’s game into overtime on a four-yard run on a fourth-and-goal, took the Sooners to a game-leading field goal and the winning touchdown drive after OSU had taken a 24-20 lead on a one-yard run by Desmond Roland with 1:46 remaining.

“We obviously needed to score and we weren’t going to change anything,’’ Bell said. “I hit Shep (Sterling Shepard) over the middle (18 yards to OSU 39) and then we got the penalty (pass interference to Cowboys 30).That got things going. I was smiling and saying to myself ‘hey, we got to get this in.’”

OSU’s Justin Gilbert just missed on what would have been the game-ending interception a few plays later. But Bell hit Jalen Saunders for 13 yards to the 17 for a first down, and two plays later, hit Brennan Clay for 10 yards to the OSU 7.

After the Cowboys called time out, Bell hit Saunders in the end zone for the game winner with 19 seconds left.

“They were in the right coverage for it,’’ Bell said. “I was licking my chops. I was ready for that one once we got the play called. Jalen always runs great routes. I just put it out there to him and he went after it and caught it. Jalen did a great job of getting off him (OSU defender). I just put it out there for him.’’

Bell said he was not affected by the cold temperatures or sitting on the bench for the first three quarters.

“Once I got in the rhythm of the game, I felt like everything was clicking,’’ Bell said. “When I got my opportunity, I just wanted to do the best I could. I’m still kind of in shock about the whole deal. Everyone on the offense did a great job.’’

He smiled when asked if this was better than quarterbacking OU to a 35-21 win over Notre Dame.

“I would say so,’’ Bell said.

Being in situations like last year helped him, he said.

“You obviously want to start but once you get in, you just want to move the ball down the field,’’ he said. “All the quarterbacks are family. We just want to have fun with it.’’

Bell lost his starting quarterback’s job after sustaining a concussion against Baylor. How he came back against OSU earned him respect among teammates and coaches.

“He took his reps in practice like he was starting,’’ Shepard said. “He showed a lot of poise in the pocket and was hitting his open receivers.’’

“I was proud of his poise,’’ Stoops said. “He scrambled around and made plays on his own. I just love a guy who is just a team guy like Blake.

“He saw for two weeks the game plan would be all zone read option and he was good with it. He was ready when he got in there. You love it when you see a competitor like that who’s been sitting on the bench come in and play so well.’’