Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics
NCAA FOOTBALL BOWLS PAGE
(Sports Network) - Blake Bell ran for three touchdowns and Landry Jones threw for another score as No. 19 Oklahoma held off a second half push by Iowa to take a 31-14 victory at the Insight Bowl.
Bell carried the ball 10 times for 51 yards while replacing Jones under center to run the option. His three scores gave him 13 for the year, setting an Oklahoma record for rushing touchdowns by a freshman quarterback. Charles Thompson had the previous record of 10, which he set in 1987.
"Landry is the one that gets me down there when I punch it in. So I give most of the credit to him," said Bell. "It all starts up front with the line and the coaching staff prepared us this week. And, like I said, Landry just getting it down. It is a team effort and I'm happy for the seniors to go out on a win."
Jones completed 16-of-25 passes for 161 yards with an interception for the Sooners (10-3), who have won their last three bowl appearances.
James Vandenberg threw for 216 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 23-of-44 passing for Iowa (7-6), losers in two straight games to close out the season.
Jordan Canzeri carried the ball 22 times for 58 yards while adding six catches for 28 yards and a touchdown. Keenan Davis caught five balls for 76 yards in defeat.
After Jones connected with Trent Ratterree on a three-yard score to cap a 10- play, 64-yard drive near the midpoint of the third quarter that stretched the Sooners' lead to 21-0, Iowa's offense finally came alive.
The Hawkeyes started the ensuing possession on their own 25 and converted three straight third downs to move deep into Oklahoma territory.
Then, faced with a 4th-and-3 at the Oklahoma 17, Vandenberg found C.J. Fiedorowicz for a six-yard gain. The drive carried over into the fourth quarter, where Vandenberg capped the 16-play march by hitting Fiedorowicz for a five-yard score, first scrambling to his left before turning around and crossing to his right.
The Hawkeyes took over on offense again at their own 22 after a series of punts. Three straight completions by Vandenberg moved Iowa across midfield and the junior kept the drive alive with a 14-yard pass to Davis on 4th-and-10 inside the red zone before Canzeri caught a screen and rumbled in for a nine- yard touchdown to make it a 21-14 game inside seven minutes to go.
But that would be as close as Iowa would get as Jones hit Kenny Stills for 11 yards on the first play of the ensuing drive before Oklahoma reeled off seven straight runs, resulting in Mike Hunnicutt sneaking a 35-yard field goal inside the left upright with 2:28 left in regulation to seal the victory.
Bell added a 21-yard touchdown run in the final minute after Iowa turned the ball over on downs to account for the final margin.
"First of all, just congratulate Oklahoma. They played an excellent game. They are a very good football team, very well coached and played an excellent game tonight," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "On our side of the coin, obviously we came up short, but we are really proud of our players' effort. We thought they competed and worked hard all game long, and tonight Oklahoma is just a better football team."
Vandenberg was intercepted by Jamell Fleming deep inside Iowa's own territory on the third possession of the game and Oklahoma turned it into a Bell four- yard TD run just two plays later for an early 7-0 lead.
Iowa drove all the way down to the Sooners' one-yard line on their next touch, but the Hawkeyes decided to go for it on 4th-and-goal at the one and Canzeri was stuffed for a three-yard loss to keep Iowa off the board.
Neither team managed much offense from there until Bell capped a 13-play, 66- yard drive with 6:56 left in the second quarter with his second four-yard score of the half, sending the game into the break with the Sooners holding a 14-0 lead.