Bell starts, throws 4 TDs as No. 14 Oklahoma routs Tulsa
Norman, OK (Sports Network) - Blake Bell, in his first career start, passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns Saturday to lead No. 14 Oklahoma to a 51-20 win over Tulsa.
The Sooners (3-0) had rushed for more than 300 yards in both of their first two games but their passing attack had barely gotten off the ground until Bell took over.
The junior was 27-for-37 without an interception and had touchdown passes of 29 yards to Roy Finch and 35 yards to Sterling Shepard.
Bell was on the field plenty as a rusher during his first two seasons with the Sooners, running for 24 touchdowns, but his passing ability was well-known to teammates.
"I always knew he could throw," said Jaz Reynolds, who had four catches for 109 yards. "A lot of fans didn't know because all he did was run the ball the first two years, but we always knew he could do it."
Shepard caught eight passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
"Everybody in the country recruited [Bell] and they recruited him as a passing quarterback. We've said that around here for a long time," said Oklahoma co- offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. "The package that he played in the past couple of years limited your exposure to what he was capable of.
"Sometimes because Landry Jones was a pretty dang good quarterback, third in the history of the NCAA in passing, it's tough to put your backup quarterback in the game to throw the ball. [Bell's] capable of it. He needs to continue to get better in some of the things that were deficient today, but we always believed he could throw the football."
Cody Green was 17-of-33 for 226 yards with an interception for Tulsa (1-2).
Oklahoma is 3-0 going into a particularly tough stretch of the season, which will begin after an off week. The Sooners will play at Notre Dame, at home against TCU and in Dallas against Texas.
The Sooners scored on their first five drives of the game and were 12-of-16 on third-down conversions in the game.
"We couldn't get off the field," said Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship. "I think Oklahoma exposed our youthfulness in the secondary and took advantage of that. They actually handled it really well. I think Blake Bell did a good job getting the ball to the underneath receivers and then hit us over the top as well.
"I think any defense and offense understands that winning third downs is big. It is incredibly frustrating to not only give up third downs, but to give up touchdowns on those third down conversions, no question."
Brennan Clay rushed for a four-yard touchdown on the game's first drive to give Oklahoma the lead, and the Sooners would never let go of it. On their next possession, Mike Hunnicutt's 20-yard field goal made it 10-0.
Trey Watts' two-yard touchdown run got Tulsa within 10-7 near the end of the first quarter, but Bell hit Shepard for a three-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the second to extend the lead back to 10.
Safety Gabe Lynn's interception and 31-yard return set up Bell's 29-yard hookup with Finch
Hunnicutt's 30-yard field goal made Oklahoma 5-for-5 on scoring drives for a 27-7 lead.
The first half ended during the sixth Sooners drive, but they took a 27-point lead after Bell hit Shepard for a 35-yard touchdown to start the third quarter.
After Carl Salazar kicked a 26-yard field goal for Tulsa to make it 34-10, the Sooners punted for the first time. Salazar then kicked a 21-yarder before Hunnicutt made a 36-yarder for Oklahoma to start the fourth quarter.
The teams combined for 24 points in the fourth. Ja'Terian Douglas had a six- yard touchdown run for Tulsa, Bell threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders and Keith Ford ran it in from three yards for the Sooners to make it 51-20.
Finch led all players with 68 yards rushing ... Watts rushed for 60 yards for Tulsa, which fell to 3-12-1 at Oklahoma ... Oklahoma racked up 607 yards of total offense to 321 for Tulsa.
09/14 17:13:24 ET