By John Shinn, CNHI News Service
LAWRENCE, Kan. —
The reverse pass Oklahoma wide receiver Lacoltan Bester perfectly threw to fellow receiver Sterling Shepard late in the second quarter was the turning point in Saturday’s 34-19 victory over Kansas.
However, it wasn’t a play the Sooners drew up in the artificial turf Saturday. Apparently, it’s on the play sheet every week.
“We’ve been practicing it since two-a-days,” center Gabe Ikard said. “We finally called it and didn’t check out of it. We’ve called it several times, but checked out of it because it was the wrong look. We finally got it.”
Bester, who was a high school quarterback in his native Scooba, Miss., admitted he was nervous when OU did not check out of the call.
“At first, I’m ready for it. And then we finally get the check that we’re really gonna run it, and my heart starts to beat a little fast,” he said. “But it’s something I’ve been doing my whole life, throwing the ball. So I was ready for it when the time came.”
Bester now has a passing efficiency rating of 841.6, which is about as high as it can possibly be. Even OU coach Bob Stoops joked about it after the game.
“I gave him the game ball, and said he needed to give the quarterbacks some lessons,” the coach said.
Placing the blame?
OU was down another defensive tackle Saturday. Backup nose guard Torrea Peterson did not travel with the team to Kansas. Stoops said it was an academic suspension and expected Peterson to be available when the Sooners face No. 16 Texas Tech next Saturday at Owen Field.
But the coaching staff didn’t believe OU’s problem stopping the run early in the game was a defensive line issue.
“I don’t feel that was the issue. I don’t feel that spot is the issue,” Stoops said. “‘Backers not being in position. Backers and secondary not adjusting to some of the different formations is more of the issue, because in the second half, all those same things were happening and we played them well when we were in position. I don’t feel that was an issue inside.”
Bell runs again
Quarterback Blake Bell rushed for 53 yards and using him in the run game was emphasized early in the contest. On OU’s third possession, Bell had a designed run for 27 yards.
“It helps a lot. Going and running the ball like that, it helps you stay ahead of the chains,” he said. “You know picking up four to six yards, it’s a lot better than being second-and-10 versus second-and-four.”
OU converted 7 of 14 third-down attempts Saturday. The 50-percent conversion rate was a vast improvement over the Sooners’ average of 37.7 percent going into the game and 23.2 percent average (10 of 43) in their three previous conference games.