The Oklahoma defense had done its job. It was time for quarterback Blake Bell and the Sooner offense to do theirs.
With 2:26 left to play on Saturday night, the Sooners held just a 20-17 lead against Texas Christian, and the Horned Frogs were finally beginning to play with confidence. They'd been shut out in the first half and plainly beaten by a superior OU defense.
But after amassing fewer yards (16) than plays (18) in the first half, TCU decided to fight back.
SCOOPHD: BELL GETS IT DONE WITH HIS LEGS
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video by Eddie RadosevichAn on-side kick recovery provided the Horned Frogs resolve. They scored late in the third quarter and held possession of the ball in that quarter for all but two minutes, 12 seconds.
"We came out flat in the second half," Bell said. "It wasn't anything we did. We just weren't moving the chains."
The Sooner offense had answered once with a 76-yard touchdown run by senior running back Brennan Clay. Now it was time for Bell to finish the game.
On the first play of that drive, he was dropped for a loss and TCU called timeout. Then, on the next play, Bell took off for 13 yards to the OU 47-yard line -- a first down.
Two plays later, Bell ran again for a 17-yard gain. That was the run that sealed the Sooners' 20-17 victory at Memorial Stadium and Bell's third consecutive win as No. 11 OU's starting quarterback.
No, it wasn't pretty, though the stat sheet shows Bell passed for 152 yards and rushed for 85 more. But it's what was needed against a team that played better than its record.
The TCU defense had roughed Bell up when he tucked the ball and ran and caught him in the backfield three times for sacks.
However, when the Sooners needed a play made through the air Bell found an open receiver. Wide outs Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders each caught a team-high five balls for 37 and 30 yards, respectively. Those totals aren't a lot, but they were enough.
"A 'W' is a 'W,'" Bell said. "It was a great win. Offensively, we have things we need to correct, but we credit TCU. They are a great defense, but we have to make some plays on first and second down, and even on third."
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was aware the OU defense carried the load tonight. If not for its stellar play, he knows the Sooners might not have come away with the narrow win.
Still, he couldn't have been prouder of how his team responded when TCU started to play ball in the second half.
"I love it. I think it shows character, and the fact that guys are in shape and ready to finish," Stoops said. "I'm proud of Blake, the way he ran."