Oklahoma started fast and never looked back beating Iowa 31-14 in the Insight Bowl on Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
Oklahoma (10-3) struck first when backup quarterback Blake Bell followed his blockers from four yards out to put the Sooners up 7-0 following the point after kick. Bell’s run came just three plays after cornerback Jamell Fleming stepped in front of a James Vandenberg pass and returned it deep in Iowa territory.
OU managed only eights yards of total offense (compared to Iowa’s 95), but led 7-0 heading into the second quarter.
Oklahoma pushed the lead to 14-0 when Bell doubled his pleasure spiriting around the right side again from four yards out. Landry Jones picked apart the Iowa (7-6) secondary with several key throws on the 13-play drive and had a key seven-yard scramble on third-and-six to set up Bell’s second touchdown.
Iowa’s offense hurt themselves with poor pass protection and untimely penalties. Vandenburg was just 9-20 for 89 yards in the first half.
Oklahoma wasted little time coming out of the locker room as Trey Franks took the second half kickoff back 52 yards to the Iowa 43. The Sooners moved deep in the red zone before defensive lineman Broderick Binns tipped a Jones’ pass to himself and snagged it in mid-air, thwarting the drive.
Following another Iowa three-and-out, tight end Trent Ratterree snuck out in the flat and Jones hit him in stride from three yards out to make it 20-0.
The Hawkeyes finally got on the board on the second play of the fourth quarter when Vandenberg scrambled and spotted a diving C.J. Fiedorowicz for a five-yard score on the 16th play of the drive.
Iowa refused to quit as Vandenberg connected with Keenan Davis on 4th-and-10 from the OU 16 for 15 midway through the fourth quarter. Three plays later Vandenberg hit Jordan Canzeri to make it 21-14 after the PAT.
However, the Hawkeyes would get no closer as Mike Hunnicutt nailed a 35-yard field to make it a two possession game and moments later Bell iced it with a 21-yard score on 4th and one to make it 30-14.
“They played an excellent game,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz explained. “Tonight, Oklahoma was just a better football team.”
Bell, who finished with 51 rushing yards and three touchdowns was named the games offensive MVP.
“I’m very proud of our players,” Sooners head coach Bob Stoops said. “We played a pretty clean game…and now take some momentum into the off-season. Hopefully we can build on it.”