STILLWATER — Bell turned out to be the one thing the Cowboys couldn’t answer. They’d kept OU’s offense in check most of the day. OU had scored 20 points in the first 59 minutes and all of it came on special teams plays.
Saunders scored late in the first quarter on a 64-yard punt return. Michael Hunnicutt hit a pair of field goals and the Sooner kicker corralled an 8-yard touchdown pass from holder Grant Bothun on a fake field goal late in the third quarter to tie the game.
Special teams and defense kept OU in the game.
OSU running back Desmond Roland rushed for 144 yards and a pair of touchdowns and quarterback Clint Chelf threw for 200 yards and a touchdown. He threw for 81 of those yards on a seven-play 89-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Roland that gave the Cowboys a four-point lead with 1:46 remaining.
It was Roland’s touchdown run that unleashed the wild finish. Those have become customary when these teams meet.
OU had moved Bell to its No. 3 quarterback last week. The coaching staff decided it was putting all its eggs in the zone-read option that fit Knight best and Thompson was better suited for.
All that went out the window when the Sooners needed a touchdown and got the ball back on its 34-yard line.
Bell hit Sterling Shepard twice to put OU in Cowboy territory. A pass interference call on OSU’s Zack Craig moved it to the 30.
OSU had a chance to win the game when Justin Gilbert got his hands on a ball intended for Saunders with less than a minute left, but the cornerback lost the ball when he crashed to the turf.
Four plays later, the Sooners were at the Cowboys’ 7 with a chance to take the lead. Saunders got open in the back of the end zone and Bell lobbed it to him.