Blake Bell Sack

Texas Tech defensive back Austin Stewart and linebacker Will Smith tackle Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell during the Red Raiders’ 38-30 loss against the Sooners on Saturday at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla.

Heading into last weekend’s game against Oklahoma, the Texas Tech defense thought it mainly would have to stop the run to win the game.

Before the game against the Red Raiders, junior quarterback Blake Bell completed 25.8 percent of his passes longer than 15 yards, according to the ESPN website.  During the game against the Red Raiders, however, Bell threw for 249 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jalen Saunders.

Defensive coordinator Matt Wallerstedt said Bell made better throws than they anticipated, but he also made some bad ones and the Red Raiders did not capitalize on his mistakes.

“He had that great deep ball, and he put it right on the money. Bruce Jones was in great position, but he looked back to the quarterback instead of finishing,” he said. “We did think he would throw the ball into coverage more, so there were times when we rushed four and dropped seven. We just need to do a better job of attacking the ball when it’s in the air and not let these quarterbacks drill into us.”

Bell and the Sooners offense stepped up on third downs, converting on half of their opportunities.

Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said the defense did a good job getting the Sooners’ offense in third-and-long situations, but Bell made big plays to get first downs.

“I thought we had them off schedule a bunch of times where that kid stepped up on third and eight, third and nine, third and 10, and made big time throws,” Kingsbury said. “You have to give them credit. We have to find a way to get off the field in those situations.”

Two of the third downs Kingsbury referred to came on one 97-yard long Oklahoma drive, which spanned through the end of the first quarter into the beginning of the second quarter and ended with a 15-yard catch by Saunders.

Those two third downs came early in the drive, Wallerstedt said, and getting off the field in those situations could’ve changed the game.

“The long drive there in the second quarter, we had two of those third down situations early where they were backed up, and if we would’ve just made those plays, we would’ve gotten off the field,” Wallerstedt said.

Although the Sooners used the passing game much more than expected, they still had 28 more rushing yards than they did passing yards.

Wallerstedt said the big and physical Sooner offensive line was the reason it was successful on the ground, and its ability to run the ball was key to the team winning the game.

“We didn’t stop the run game,” Wallerstedt said. “I was worried going into the Oklahoma game if they did establish the run, and then now they’ve got play action, and they’ve got their whole menu, and that would be a challenge for us.”

The loss to the Sooners dropped the Red Raiders down to No. 15 in the BCS rankings and No. 26 in points scored against.

Tech redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Branden Jackson said the team knew it would hit some rough spots throughout the season, but he expects it will be ready again Saturday when Oklahoma State comes to Lubbock.

“This is going to show how tough our team really is out there, taking the first loss and being able to bounce back and showing that we’re as resilient as we proclaim to be,” Jackson said. “So this loss, it’s not like we’ve never lost before. It’s a game. It’s in the past, and we’re going to move on.”

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