Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 12/31/11
TEMPE, Ariz. -- For the Iowa Hawkeyes -- or any other team, really -- stopping Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones presented a tall task. But stopping Jones and freshman quarterback Blake Bell? Big and tall. With it's two-pronged quarterback attack accounting for four touchdowns, No. 14 Oklahoma rolled to a 31-14 Insight Bowl win Friday over the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Sooners didn't hesitate in breaking out their "Belldozer" formation -- Bell and two fullbacks -- following a first-quarter interception in their red zone. They needed just two plays to get Bell into the end zone for a sixth straight game and take a 7-0 lead. "It just makes a huge difference," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of using Bell in the red zone. "It's really, through the whole year, made a huge difference in our short-yardage run game and our red-zone run game. "A lot of people know you are going to hand it off when it's third-and-1 anyway. Now you've just got the extra blocker." Oklahoma first implemented the formation against Kansas State, and it quickly became a mainstay of the high-scoring offense. Bell was suddenly the go-to man at the goal line. In the season's final five games, he compiled 10 touchdowns on 102 yards. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Bell scored again in the second quarter Friday, this time on a 4-yard run. With the score, Bell was responsible for eight straight Oklahoma touchdowns dating back to the third quarter of the Sooners' Nov. 19 loss to Baylor. Jones finally stepped back into the spotlight in the third quarter when he connected with senior tight end Trent Ratterree for a 3-yard score. The touchdown was Jones' first since late in the third quarter against Texas A&M on Nov. 5, the same game in which Oklahoma lost top receiver Ryan Broyles for the season to a torn ACL, although that touchdown drought was partially caused by Bell's effectiveness on the ground. "It's always fun throwing a touchdown, especially if you're a quarterback," Jones said. "It's a blessing whenever you get the chance to throw one in. And (Ratterree) did a great job of slipping past the (cornerback)." Jones finished 16 for 25 for 161 yards with the touchdown and an interception in what may very well have been his last game in the college ranks. He said afterward that the game's result had not made him decide whether to declare for the NFL draft or return to Oklahoma for his senior season. Bell earned the game's offensive MVP honors with three touchdowns and 51 yards on 10 carries, with the third score coming from 21 yards out in the final minute. Bell downplayed the honor, though, instead deflecting credit to Jones and the offensive line. "Landry is the one that gets me down there when I punch it in," Bell said. "So I give most of the credit to him." That credit is well deserved, as Jones does the heavy lifting in the Sooners' quarterback combo, essentially driving the distance and letting Bell park. Bell's 13 touchdown runs this season came from an average of 5.7 yards, with only three runs greater than four yards. Without his two touchdowns of more than 20 yards, the runs averaged 2.3 yards. Jones, meanwhile, finished the season with 4,463 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. Regardless of the dynamic, the two-headed quarterback monster just works. The Sooners are 4-2 since implementing the "Belldozer" formation, which might just become the norm if Jones departs for the pros. "There is just no denying anyone that uses the quarterback run (has success)," Stoops said. "You watch Oregon when they do it, Florida with (Tim) Tebow when he was a young quarterback, and then on and on." It certainly worked against Iowa, even if the first score mostly resulted from the interception. The Hawkeyes actually outgained the Sooners 292-275 and dominated the line of scrimmage, but they couldn't figure out how to stop the Oklahoma quarterbacks. "They're a tough preparation, no matter how you slice it," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Jones can really throw the football. Anybody that's seen them play knows that. He has got a tremendous arm, good scheme. "Part of that scheme, they built in the substitute quarterback. That guy (Bell) is a load. It's a well-conceived package." If Jones does forgo his senior season, Bell seems to be the likely successor even though he's unproven as a passer. Even if he only turns out to be an average passing quarterback, his legs give him a skill that's become extremely valuable in the modern football landscape. The Oklahoma defense and special teams also did a great deal to carry the Sooners to a third straight bowl victory, and the absence of Iowa running back Marcus Coker can't be ignored. But it was Jones and Bell that put the Sooners on the podium Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium. The combination is clearly effective and gives Oklahoma one of the Big 12's most dynamic offenses. It remains to be seen if it will return in 2012.
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