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Tulsa vs. Oklahoma: Grading Blake Bell's First Career Start

Sep 14, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Brennan Clay (24) is congratulated by quarterback Blake Bell (10) after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 14, 2013

It's safe to say Blake Bell is going to be Oklahoma's starting quarterback until further notice. Sure, this may have been the case anyway until Trevor Knight is fully recovered from his knee injury, but Bell outplayed the freshman in his first career start.

Oklahoma thrashed Tulsa 51-20 to improve to 3-0, and a lot of that had to do with the junior quarterback playing extremely well. In fact, Bell played so well that it didn't take long for folks to take notice of his effectiveness.

Need another statistical nugget to get excited over?

Bell finished the game with 413 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also completed an impressive 73 percent of his passes. In the first two games of the season, Knight threw for 205 yards, four touchdowns and completed just 43.8 percent of his passes.

It's clear who has looked the part at the position to begin the season.

But this performance was much more than numbers. The starting quarterback should be awarded to the player who has the offense firing on all cylinders. How does the offense look when under each quarterback and who is able to lead his teammates to consistent production?

In the first two games, Oklahoma averaged 432 yards and 25 points per game. The offense looked tentative at times and struggled to consistently move the ball. This wasn't the case with Bell in the game. Oklahoma came away with points on five of its first six drives and was seven of nine on third down attempts in the first half.

Bell made the right decision on nearly every throw, took what the defense gave him and showed tremendous zip on the football. The ball left his hand quickly and hit the receiver right on the numbers.

What was most impressive about his performance is that he wasn't so quick to run. He finished the game with only 10 rushing attempts for 24 rushing yards. Although he was mostly known as a powerful dual-threat quarterback, Bell seemed comfortable in the pocket and wasn't so quick to make a play with his legs.

Some would use Tulsa as an excuse for his remarkable performance, but Knight played against Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia, and neither of those programs are defensive juggernauts. Regardless of the competition, Oklahoma's offense looked smoother and a lot more consistent with Bell at quarterback.

Don't be surprised if he remains the starter with the Sooners schedule increasing in difficulty beginning with Notre Dame on Sept. 28.

Grade: A

 

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