Ranking OU's top running quarterbacks


Against Texas, sophomore Blake Bell nearly became the first quarterback in OU history to run for 5 touchdowns in a game. Instead, he finished with 4 for the second game in his career. Jamelle Holieway and J.C. Watts are the only other OU quarterbacks to achieve the same feat once.

Though he has yet to start a game, Bell is emerging as one of the top rushing quarterbacks in Oklahoma history. That’s saying something, too.

SoonerNation ranks the top 10 OU running quarterbacks:

1. Jamelle Holieway (1985-88): Maybe the greatest running quarterback in wishbone history, Holieway rushed for 2,713 yards and 32 touchdowns in his career. He also averaged 5.0 yards per carry in his career, which included the 1985 national championship. Had he been able to stay healthy, who knows what kind of numbers he would have put up.

2. Jack Mildren (1969-71): The “Godfather of the Wishbone” put together the greatest season by an OU running quarterback in '71, rushing for more than 1,200 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also had eight games in which he rushed for more than 100 yards. Though he didn’t win the Heisman, Mildren might have been the best player in college football that season. Had the Sooners won the Game of the Century over Nebraska, Mildren probably would have won the Heisman.

3. Thomas Lott (1976-78): Lott rushed for more than 600 yards in all three seasons he started at quarterback. He holds the single-game record for rushing yards by an OU quarterback, rolling for 195 yards and 3 touchdowns against Kansas State in '76. With the Big Eight title on the line in '77, Lott shredded Nebraska for 143 rushing yards and a touchdown.

4. Jack Mitchell (1946-48): Bud Wilkinson’s first quarterback was a wizard in the split-T formation. Because of Mitchell’s running prowess, Wilkinson twice tried playing him at halfback, but the OU offense was always more effective with him quarterbacking the attack. Despite rarely throwing the ball, Mitchell was an All-American in '48.

5. J.C. Watts (1978-80): Watts led the Sooners in passing and rushing in '81. He also rushed for more than 100 yards in OU’s Orange Bowl win at the end of the '80 season.

6. Steve Davis (1973-75): Davis wasn’t flashy, but he was effective during one of the most dominant stretches in college football history. Davis rushed for more than 500 yards in all three seasons as the starting quarterback, including 11 100-yard games -- an Oklahoma QB record. Davis’ rushing kept defenses from zeroing in on Joe Washington.

7. Blake Bell (2011-present): Bell already has 20 rushing touchdowns through one-and-a-half seasons, and the Belldozer QB is well on his way to breaking Watts’ OU quarterback record of 35 career rushing touchdowns. In fact, if Bell keeps up his scoring pace as the starter next season, he’ll have a chance to break Steve Owens’ school record of 57 rushing touchdowns and could finish much higher on this list.

8. Charles Thompson (1987-88): Thompson was a worthy backup to Holieway when it came to rushing the ball. In relief, Thompson rushed for 760 yards in '87, and 824 yards in '88. He also had 19 career rushing touchdowns in those first two seasons. Who knows where Thompson would have finished on this list had off-the-field issues not derailed his OU career.

9. Darrell Shepard (1980-81): Sterling Shepard's uncle transferred in from Houston for his final two seasons and was an immediate force rushing the football. As a senior, Shepard rushed for more than 100 yards five times.

10. Danny Bradley (1981-84): Bradley was the Big Eight player of the year in '84, totaling more than 1,400 all-purpose yards on an offense that included Lydell Carr, Spencer Tillman and Steve Sewell. Bradley rushed for 16 touchdowns in his career.