Oklahoma vs Notre Dame: Blake Bell Solidifies Status as Sooners QB with Road Win
Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Blake Bell confirmed he was the best option as the program's starting signal-caller, accounting for 291 total yards and two touchdowns in his team's big 35-21 road victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.
Bell, a junior, started out the 2013 season backing up freshman Trevor Knight, but after he struggled throwing the ball, head coach Bob Stoops decided to plug Bell in as the No. 1 QB.
It certainly paid dividends when Bell lit it up in his first start in a blowout win over Tulsa, but beating the Fighting Irish in South Bend would be a different matter altogether.
The 6'6", 252-pound physical specimen beat Notre Dame more with his arm than with his legs, which had generated the majority of the hype surrounding Bell entering the year.
In the midst of Bell's official coming out party as the starter, ESPN.com's Jake Trotter wondered why he hadn't beaten out Knight in the first place:
Win or lose, Blake Bell has been magnificent today -- how did he not originally win the job in the preseason??— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 28, 2013
That has been the narrative thus far with Bell, who was impeccable in completing 22 of 30 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns on the reputedly vaunted Notre Dame defense.
The last scoring toss, a 54-yarder to Sterling Shepard, came in the fourth quarter, not long after the Irish cut their deficit to 27-21. Bell's clutch 3rd-and-3 throw—an inside slant pass right on the money—bailed the Sooners out and bought them enough insurance to coast comfortably in the last 15 minutes.
Stoops summarized Bell's performance in a succinct, fitting manner after the game, per Eddie Radosevich of SoonerScoop.com:
Stoops pleased with no TOs, extremely happy with OLine. "Blake Bell was great, again"— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) September 28, 2013
How will the Sooners finish in 2013?
One point brought up often during the NBC telecast was the physicality of Oklahoma's offensive line, which allowed the rushing attack to thrive for 212 yards.
It makes sense that Stoops would take the time to single the unit out, especially against a defensive front featuring likely future NFL players in nose tackle Louis Nix III and Stephon Tuitt.
Fifty-nine of those rushing yards came from Bell, who has been dubbed the "Belldozer." However, he proved himself as a legitimate dual-threat quarterback that can sling the ball all over the field.
There are no doubts any longer as to whether or not Bell can hold his own as the leader of the Sooners offense. He will return to Norman to face TCU next Saturday, and nothing he did in South Bend indicates he'll slow down against strong competition.
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