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Bolta: Oklahoma's Bell much more than flashy nickname

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Ryan Bolta
9/19/2013 8:07:47 PM
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His nickname is the Belldozer.

Blake Bell, the new starting quarterback at Oklahoma, lived up to the billing in his first start in Norman, throwing for 413 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 73 per cent of his passes, finishing the game with a QBR of 96.7. Bell was a situational quarterback last season, used mainly in goal-line situations due to his 6'6, 252 pound frame. After losing the starting gig in the spring, Bell has taken over the reins from Trevor Knight and Kendal Thompson.

Under Bob Stoops, the Sooners have often been set behind centre but after losing Landry Jones and his school record 39 wins to the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL, the program needed someone to step forward. Bell seems firmly planted in the role, and it will be exciting to see what he does going forward. The Sooners have a bye week before traveling to Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish. A road game in front of 80,000 fans will be a much bigger test than a home date against Tulsa but it's something he should be able to handle well.

Bell's gaudy stats from his debut as a starter were school records, which is impressive when you consider the list of quarterbacks before him, including Sam Bradford, the number one overall pick playing with the St. Louis Rams. In college, much like the NFL, it's becoming increasingly important to have a mobile quarterback. Having Bell, who is used to converting short distance situations, also put up a record setting showing as a pocket passer bodes well for the Sooners going forward.

An opposing assistant coach in the Big 12 was quoted as saying Bell is "an effective goal-line guy but not sure how he'll do as a primary option. He might do great, but the jury's still out". After his performance against Tulsa, Bell put the rest of the Big 12 on notice and he'll be a player to watch, not only against Notre Dame but also when he kicks off the conference schedule one week later against TCU. Look for 'The Belldozer' to prove he's much more than just a flashy nickname in the weeks to come.

Other quick hits from around the NCAA:

- Bo Pelini may be in hot water for his remarks about the Cornhusker faithful but his team's performance against UCLA should be more of a concern. Leading by 18 late in the first half, Nebraska was outscored 38-0 the rest of the way on their home turf. UCLA is an up-and-coming program, but that is still an awful showing in what was supposed to be a statement game for Pelini and his squad.

- Kenny Guiton started in place of the injured Braxton Miller and led Ohio State to an 18-point victory at California. Urban Meyer didn't dumb down the offence at all as Guiton proved capable with 276 yards passing and four touchdowns. The Buckeyes have one more creampuff on the schedule in Florida A&M before opening their conference schedule at The Horseshoe against Wisconsin.

- Jameis Winston is putting up some crazy stats for the Florida State Seminoles. Replacing EJ Manuel as quarterback was supposed to be a tough transition for the freshman but through two games, he has six passing touchdowns, two more on the ground and amazingly only five incompletions.

- TCU is known for scheduling tough non-conference games in an effort to boost their rankings in the polls should they record victories. The strategy has seemingly backfired this season with losses to LSU and Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs find themselves out of the polls heading into their bye week.

- Stanford beat Army by two touchdowns in an underwhelming performance for the 5th-ranked Cardinal. Army trailed at halftime by just one score and was looking to make history. Their program hasn't defeated a ranked team since 1972 – which is now 42 consecutive losses.

- Butch Jones had a chance to start his coaching tenure at Tennessee with three straight victories, something that hadn't been done since 1926. How did his Vols respond? By giving up 59 points to the Oregon Ducks and losing by 45 points.

- The coolest stat of the week comes from Oklahoma State. They managed a 56-point victory of Lamar, despite losing the time of possession battle by 15 minutes.

For more on the college football season check out the TSN podcast each week!

Blake Bell (Photo: Canadian Press)

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(Photo: Canadian Press)
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