The Sooners were without second-leading rusher Damien Williams, who rushed for 161 yards through the first two games but was suspended Saturday for violating team rules.
Senior Roy Finch finished with a team-high 68 yards on eight carries Saturday, and Brennan Clay rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown.
“I think that’s what we are going to work on in practice, getting both of those things going at the same time,” sophomore receiver Sterling Shepard said of Oklahoma’s rushing and passing attacks. “It’ll be hard to stop us.”
Despite the run game’s first-half struggles Saturday, Tulsa’s defense had an enormously difficult time stopping Bell and the Sooners, who scored points on their first six drives of the game and didn’t punt until midway through the third quarter.
Bell managed Oklahoma’s offense effectively and efficiently, connecting with 10 different receivers at least once. Shepard was his favorite target, hauling in eight receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Bell finished with 10 rushes for 31 yards, but few of those carries came on designed quarterback runs.
Knight, on the other hand, rushed for 145 yards in his two starts.
The different offensive strategy was also evident in Oklahoma’s formations. More than half of the Sooners’ offensive snaps came from four wide receiver sets — a frequent sight in 2012 that made few appearances in Knight’s starts.
“I don’t think there was really that much (of a change in philosophy),” Bell said. “You know, (Heupel) and the coaching staff did a great job of just preparing and gave us plays that they thought we could execute and execute well. Other than that, we’re just doing what we do.”