NORMAN, Okla. -- Any more questions?
Oklahoma junior Blake Bell got his first collegiate start at quarterback on Saturday amid questions about his ability to throw the ball. Three hours later, those questions have been answered after Bell led OU to a 51-20 win against Tulsa at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Bell was outstanding as the triggerman of the OU passing game, going 27-of-37 passing for 413 yards and four touchdowns.
Is Bell the next Sam Bradford? Um, let’s not get carried away. But against the Golden Hurricane he proved he can throw the ball well enough to run the Sooners’ offense efficiently and effectively. He made several good reads, was accurate with his throws and didn’t turn the ball over, as the Sooners offense had its best performance of the season. A pair of touchdown darts up the seam of TU’s defense to Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders were further proof that the Sooners did indeed recruit Bell for his arm, not his legs.
Yet, it wasn’t just Bell who got OU’s offense humming for the first time in 2013. The receivers played better, and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel used screens and quick passes to jumpstart the offense. Shepard had the best performance of his sophomore season with eight receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Bell connected with seven different receivers as the Sooners spread the football around to several targets.
As good as Bell was on Saturday he still has to prove he can perform at a similar level against better defenses that have planned to stop a balanced offensive attack. Tulsa was athletically overmatched and essentially forced the Bell and the Sooners to beat them through the air. And he did.
Can he do that against a more talented defense? We’ll found out on Sept. 28, when Bell and the Sooners travel to Notre Dame.