3 things to know about Blake Bell, Oklahoma's starting quarterback

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Belldozer rolls into the Red River Rivalry. Here's what you need to know about him.

1. He's more than just the "Belldozer"

During the three-way race for the starting quarterback job in Norman this offseason, the knock on Blake Bell was that he was not a great thrower. Bell had spent his first two seasons at Oklahoma as a specialty quarterback, running from the "Belldozer" formation in short yardage. As a freshman, Bell ran 44 times for 171 yards and 13 touchdowns. He attempted just four passes, and somehow mananged to throw one interception in those four attempts. The ratio improved slightly in his sophomore campaign: 60 rushes, 16 passes. When Bell initially lost the starting job to Trevor Knight, fans thought it was confirmation of Bell's gimmick-only status.

Bell took over for Knight in Week 3 and quickly proved he is a full-fledged quarterback. In his first game as a starter against Tulsa, Bell completed 27 of 37 attempts for 413 yards and four touchdowns. He went 22/30 against Notre Dame, racking up 232 passing yards and two more scores. He completed 20/31 against a tough TCU team last week, struggling slightly against the Horned Frogs defense.  In three games as a starter, Bell has completed 70.4 percent of his pass attempts for 8.1 yards per attempt. That's not a fullback under center. That's a quarterback.

2. He's a game manager

On November 26, 2011 in a blowout win over Iowa State, in his fourth collegiate pass attempt, Blake Bell threw an interception. He has not thrown one since. That's 120 pass attempts without an interception, spanning over two seasons, the fifth-longest streak withouth an interception in FBS football.

Oklahoma doesn't need 400 passing yards per game to win this year. The Sooners average 246 rushing yards per game, and have posted more than 190 yards on the ground in each of their five games this year. Oklahoma's defense is conceding just 13 points per game, which ranks sixth nationally. Even with linebacker Corey Nelson likely out for the rest of the season, the Sooners look as formidable on defense as they have ever been.

The game is not entirely on Blake Bell's shoulders. He can hand the ball off -- especially against a Texas defense that is atrocious against the run -- and rely on his defense to keep the Longhorns out of the end zone. If that interception streak remains intact at the end of Saturday's game, Oklahoma will likely win the Red River Rivalry game.

3. He hasn't forgotten how to run

Of course, Bell remains a 6'6, 252-lb. battering ram in the running game. He has rushed 40 times for 175 yards this season, including 61 yards on 14 carries against TCU last week. He has 24 career rushing touchdowns, though none so far this season. The Sooners aren't as reliant on his running as they have been in the past -- running backs Brennan Clay and Damien Williams have 680 yards already this season -- but Texas has shown it is especially vulnerable against a running quarterback. And nobody doubts that Blake Bell can be that guy.

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