Oklahoma Sooners: Player of the Week

Player of the week: Big 12

December, 9, 2013
12/09/13
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Oklahoma receiver and return specialist Jalen Saunders became a Bedlam hero for the second consecutive season.

In 2012, Saunders had 10 receptions for 162 yards and two touchdowns, including an 81-yard punt return, as the Sooners took out Oklahoma State in overtime, 51-48.

Saturday in Stillwater, Saunders didn’t have the same kind of numbers. But in Oklahoma’s 33-24 Bedlam victory, he did deliver the same big plays, taking a major role in the Sooners’ first three touchdowns.

Saunders returned a punt 64 yards for a score in the first quarter to put the Sooners on the board and tie the game, 7-7.

In the third quarter, he took a double reverse 37 yards around the edge to set up Oklahoma’s fake field goal touchdown, which evened the game again, 17-17.

Then with 19 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, Saunders hauled in a pass from Blake Bell in the corner of the end zone from seven yards out, giving the Sooners a 27-24 lead.

Saunders’ two-game Bedlam career will go down in the annals: 15 receptions, 201 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns, 49 yards rushing, two punt return touchdowns -- and the hero in two dramatic, come-from-behind victories.

Player of the Week: Big 12

September, 16, 2013
9/16/13
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After the win over Tulsa, Bob Stoops scoffed when asked if Blake Bell would be his starting quarterback at Notre Dame.

“Well, that’s pretty obvious, yeah,” the Oklahoma coach replied. “So much for your (quarterback) controversy.”

So much, indeed. The Sooners have found their quarterback -- just in time for the Fighting Irish.

In a 51-20 rout of the Golden Hurricane, Bell was tremendous replacing freshman Trevor Knight, who was injured and benched last week after back-to-back ineffective outings. Knight beat out Bell for the job during the preseason. But Bell will be OU’s starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

He completed 27 of 37 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns with no turnovers, breaking Sam Bradford's school passing yardage record (363) in a starting debut.

On top of that, Bell finished the game with a Total QBR of 96.7. According to ESPN Stats & Info, that was the highest QBR (before opponent adjustment) for any qualifying OU quarterback in one game since Bradford registered a 99.9 at Baylor in 2008.

Before Saturday, Bell’s reputation was hardly that of a competent passer. In fact his career Total QBR as a passer (pass attempts and sacks) was below 2. But against Tulsa, Bell’s Total QBR as a passer was 99.0, thanks in large part to six completions of more than 20 yards and only one negative play, a sack.

The Sooners, obviously, will face tougher competition ahead, notably in two weeks when they travel to South Bend, Ind.

But Bell’s performance gave OU plenty of confidence about its passing attack for the rest of the season while ending any semblances of controversy about who the Sooners’ quarterback will be moving forward.

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