Oklahoma Runs Past Iowa To Win Insight Bowl

Saturday, December 31st 2011, 1:53 am
By: News 9

Gerald Goodridge, News9.com

TEMPE, Arizona -- Iowa made a fourth-quarter push, but the Oklahoma offense answered the bell and put together a long, time-consuming drive to ice the game, coming away with a 31-14 win over the Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl, capping off a 10-3 season.

The Sooners played a dismal first half, being out gained by the Hawkeyes by nearly 50 yards, but took a 14-0 advantage thanks to the legs of freshman quarterback Blake Bell. The "Belldozer" broke Charles Thompson's record for rushing touchdowns by a freshman quarterback, finishing the game with 14 on the year.

Nearly halfway into the third quarter, Landry Jones found Trent Ratterree for a three-yard touchdown pass, giving the Sooners a seemingly insurmountable 21-0 advantage. The touchdown pass was the first for Jones since the Texas A&M game and Ryan Broyles' season-ending knee injury.

However, the Hawkeyes would not go away quietly and went to work immediately trying to close the gap.

Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg strung together his best drive of the night up to that point, completing seven of his eight pass attempts for 45 yards, capped off by a touchdown pass to C.J. Fiedorowicz for the Hawkeyes' first score of the night.

The two squads traded punts and four minutes later Iowa took over at their own 22-yard line with a chance to cut the lead to one score. The Hawkeyes went to the air yet again, and Vandenberg put up big numbers once more, racking up eighty yards and a touchdown on just five completions, cutting the Sooners lead to 21-14 with less than seven minutes to play.

Oklahoma then turned to the ground game in an attempt to kill the clock and put the Hawkeyes away. After an 11-yard completion from Jones to Kenny Stills, OU ran the ball on seven consecutive downs and capped off the drive with a 35-yard field goal by Michael Hunniccutt to take a full 10-point advantage.

The Hawkeyes' ensuing drive ended on a fourth-down rush from Vandenberg, coming up one yard short for the first down, effectively ending the game for Iowa. The Sooners were content to run out the clock, with three consecutive rushes from Bell. After the Hawkeyes burned their final timeout, the freshman found space and went 21 yards for a score.

Offensively, Bell was the star of the game for Oklahoma, rushing 10 times for 51 yards and three touchdowns, while Jones completed 16 of his 25 pass attempts for 161 yards and a touchdown in the win.

Vandenberg, who was unable to finish the game's last drive due to injury, finished with 216 yards and two touchdowns, going 23-of-44 on the night.

The win gives the Sooners their 33rd 10-win season in school history, keeping the Sooners one ahead of the Alabama Crimson Tide for the most all-time.