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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Bell excels on third down for Sooners

By Brandon Chatmon

NORMAN, Okla. -- Blake Bell was aiming to send an early message.

Facing the first third down of the game, the Oklahoma quarterback calmly stepped up into the face of defensive pressure from Tulsa’s defensive line and threw a strike into the belly of Sooners receiver Sterling Shepard for a 9-yard gain on third-and-6.

Blake Bell
Blake Bell's success on third down propelled the Sooners to a season-high 51 points on Saturday.
First down, let’s move the chains.

Bell’s poised play on third down was the most impressive thing about the junior’s first start as he led OU to a 51-20 win over Tulsa on Sept. 14. OU was 12 of 16 on third down (75 percent) as the Sooners offense was explosive for the first time this season. Bell earned Big 12 offensive player of the week honors.

“Those are important to pick up,” coach Bob Stoops said. “They relate to points when you’re picking up third downs, it relates to time on the clock, moving the ball, field position, all of those.”

Here are some revealing numbers about the Sooners’ dominance on third down in Bell’s first collegiate start:
Simply put, Blake Bell won’t be replaced by anyone if he continues to excel on third down for the Sooners like he did against the Golden Hurricane. In fact, if he performs like that, the sky’s the limit for the junior and the OU offense.