Tough to find much to complain about in the wake of the Oklahoma Sooners’ 47-17 rout of the Florida State Seminoles:
People Pushing for Landry Jones’ Benching
Jones looked pedestrian at best against Utah State in OU’s opener, eliciting plenty of hand-wringing among OU faithful over the future at quarterback and calls for a change under center. While I admit that I had plenty of questions about the ‘Stache a week ago, I’m definitely glad I didn’t job off the ledge now.
The Sooners obviously didn’t make it out of this game unscathed. Freshman running back Brennan Clay’s departure on a gurney in the fourth quarter was awfully unsettling, but it sounds like he’ll be alright.
On the offensive line, it appeared as though Donald Stephenson and Tyler Evans got a little banged up. That’s definitely one position group that needs to stay healthy.
The Running Game
Look, I’m not bemoaning the performance of OU’s running backs. Far from it – it was a nice all-around effort.
I simply expected a little bit more production against a defense that let anyone and everyone run all over it last season. I suspect FSU’s efforts to stop OU’s ground game did play a big part in all the success through the air, though.
Coming into the game, Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder and his offensive line were thought to be the Seminoles’ biggest strengths. OU’s ferocious front seven had their way with FSU’s offense in passing situations, though, harassing the Heisman candidate all day long. When he did get the ball off, Ponder took some serious shots from OU’s pass rushers.
After missing last week, junior defensive end Frank Alexander made his presence felt with two sacks on the day.
It was a pretty strong days for the Sooners in the trenches. OU’s blockers consistently opened holes on run plays, and the pass protection couldn’t have been much better.
Youngsters Bronson Irwin and Josh Aladenoye even got in on the action in the second half.
Jones gave the best performance of his career against the Seminoles, hitting on 30 of 40 attempts for 380 yards and four touchdowns. FSU clearly had designs on limiting OU’s ground game, enabling Jones to strafe the D all game long.
Even conceding that Florida State’s defense still has a ways to go, Jones played brilliantly Saturday, showing why there was no panicking from OU’s camp on the heels of a shaky outing against Utah State. Jones looked like he was in command throughout the game and made every throw imaginable.
Jones may not have the polish that OU had grown accustomed to with Sam Bradford under center. It doesn’t matter. The Sooners’ sophomore quarterback has demonstrated he has the game to get OU back to the top of the Big 12.
The OU DBs looked absolutely nothing like the group that Utah State blew up for 340 yards through the air. They were physical and did a great job closing on the ball on passing plays. Also, the secondary did a great job providing run support.
Jamell Fleming had a particularly strong game, reversing course from a week earlier. Freshman safety Tony Jefferson showed why the OU coaches are enamored with him.
Stud wideout Ryan Broyles proved to be the best player on the field Saturday, hauling in 12 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. If he keeps this up, Broyles will undoubtedly finish his time in Norman as the best receiver in OU history.
The Crimson and Cream have come to expect such stellar games from Broyles. More encouraging was the play of his counterparts.
Cameron Kenney bears no resemblance to the inconsistent junior college transfer who appeared to be buried on the bench at the end of last season. Dejuan Miller also had a strong day that included a smooth catch and run for 30 yards.
It was the tight ends who really stole the show, though. James Hanna emerged from hibernation in the second quarter to score on a 46-yard catch that essentially broke the game open. Later Trent Ratterree scored on a seven-yard grab, dragging three or four ‘Nole defenders over the goal line.
If OU’s offense can count on such a full complement of pass catchers, it should relieve some of the pressure on Broyles. Even more importantly, defenses will have to account for five guys on every pass play. As such, opponents will pay for rolling coverage to Broyles’ side of the field.