The Oklahoma Sooners vs. Tulsa Hurricane game saw two men make their argument for more playing time, and might have saw one player lose their job completely. With Oklahoma beating Tulsa, 51-20, Blake Bell proved to Sooner Nation that he is the man who deserves to be the starting quarterback in 2013.
Before the Oklahoma vs. Tulsa game, no one knew if Bell could throw the ball. All the talk in practice was how Trevor Knight was a brilliant passer and Bell was only known as the Belldozer. However, through two games, Knight threw for a grand total of 205 yards, four touchdowns, and three interceptions against Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia. He also ran for 167 yards, but couldn’t move the offense.
Blake Bell was the complete opposite. In the Tulsa game, Bell finished with 413 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also used his feet to pick up 24 yards and finally got Sterling Shepard and Jaz Reynolds involved in the game, alongside Jalen Saunders. Heading into Saturday, OU receivers had a total of 13 receptions, but finished the Tulsa game with 24 receptions.
Added to that change was the fact that Damien Williams was benched for off field problems, despite being the second leading rusher on the team (162 yards). Last year’s MVP Brennan Clay only picked up 49 yards on 15 carries, but Roy Finch shined in his return to prominence with 68 yards on eight carries and one reception for 29 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Keith Ford also looked great in late game action, with seven carries for 46 yards and a score.
When Williams returns next week, he will have a lot of people looking to continue playing in his role. However, there is no reason at all for Trevor Knight to return at all, as Blake Bell did everything in his power to win that starting job against Tulsa. It was Bell’s first start and first touchdown pass of his career. Everyone talks about Sam Bradford’s amazing debut, where he threw for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Bell just outdid even Sam Bradford.
The game started out in style with OU charging down the field on their first drive, 72 yards for the Brannan Clay touchdown run. Bell was three-for-four on that drive. After a field goal put OU up 10-0, Tulsa got the ball back and charged down for their first score.
It was almost stopped by the Sooners when Gaby Lynn broke up a pass, but was called for unnecessary roughness. The officials then ejected Lynn, last week’s Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week, from the game for what they called a direct hit with his helmet. Luckily, that is reviewable, and when officials saw that it was a shoulder hit, they un-ejected Lynn and allowed him to continue to play. However, the penalty could not be reversed, and Trey Watts ran for the two yard touchdown to put the score at 10-7.
On the next drive, Blake Bell threw the first touchdown pass of his career, a three-yard pass to Sterling Shepard. Before that happened, Bell hit Durron Neal with a 41-yard catch-and-run to put OU in range for that touchdown, the best passing play of the season for the Sooners.
On the next drive, Gabe Lynn made up for the bad call earlier when he picked off Cody Green and returning the ball to the Tulsa 33. That set up Blake Bell to hit Roy Finch for a 29-yard catch and run to put OU up 24-7. The Sooners went into halftime with a 27-7 lead and control of the game.
After Tulsa went three-and-out to open the third quarter, Blake Bell launched a 35-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard to put OU up 34-7. OU began to play defensive reserves at this point, and Tulsa added 10 more third quarter points to make the score 34-13 by the end of three.
In the fourth quarter, Tulsa added another touchdown, but OU answered with a field goal, a Blake Bell touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders, and the first rushing touchdown of Keith Ford’s career to hang half-a-hundred on Tulsa for the 51-20 win.