After two years of backing up the school’s all-time leading passer in Landry Jones, and the first two games of 2013 for freshman Trevor Knight, the “Belldozer” era has officially begun. What better way then to throw for more yards than any other Sooners quarterback in their first career start.
More than the greats before him; Jones, Sam Bradford, Jason White, Josh Heupel. Junior Blake Bell threw for 413 yards on 27-of-37 passing for four touchdowns as the No. 14 Sooners dominated Tulsa 51-20 to move to 3-0, 1-0 in the Big 12 Conference.
Bradford had 363 yards and three scores in his first start, a 2007 win over North Texas, while Jones only threw for 286 yards in 2009 against Idaho State.
Bell, who entered for Jones in short-yardage plays, found Sterling Shepard up the middle from three yards for his first career passing touchdown. The score made it 17-7 Sooners. Bell had scored 24 rushing touchdowns in his two years at OU.
The Belldozer already had the second-most passing yards in the first half of a Oklahoma quarterback’s first start with 281 yards. By comparison, Knight has thrown for 205 yards in the first two games combine.
Knight suffered a knee injury in the first half of last week’s win over West Virginia, but Stoops hasn’t made a decision on whether or not Knight will remain on the bench when the Sooners head to South Bend in two weeks to face Notre Dame.
Oklahoma complied over 600 yards of total offense, while the rushing game took a hit with only 194 yards after averaging over 300 in the first two contests.
Senior Roy Finch led in that department, rushing for 68 yards, while senior Brennan Clay and freshman Keith Ford rushed for 49 and 46, respectively. Clay and Ford both scored touchdowns. Senior Damien Williams sat out after being suspended for violating team rules.
Finch also scored on a 29-yarder from Bell. Shepard led the receiving core with eight grabs for 124 yards and senior Jaz Reynolds had four catches for 104 yards, with his longest being 82.
For Tulsa (1-2, 0-0 Conference USA), the defense nearly gave up as much yards against the Sooners as they had in their first two games (671 in first two, 607 vs OU). Senior Cody Green threw for 226 yards and one interception to Gabe Lynn, who didn’t play in the second half after limping off after the pick.
Senior Trey Watts, son of former Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts, ran for 61 yards on 14 carries and scored from the two to cut the Sooners’ lead to 10-7 late in the opening quarter.
Oklahoma’s defense has been stellar, allowing 11.3 points per game and forcing seven turnovers. The Sooners also have three sacks and hasn’t allowed a passing touchdown, while holding opponents to just 190.7 passing yards per game.
The Sooners will now have a bye before facing the Irish. Last season, the No. 5 Irish came into Norman and toppled the No. 8 Sooners 30-13 on ABC.