You can always count on me to find the flaws in a great win.
I doubt it will be enough to convince the black helicopter faction within the Nebraska fan base, but the officiating Saturday night should have poked massive holes in the notion that the Big 12 wanted to screw over the ‘Huskers. NU was flagged just three times for 15 yards, compared to 6 penalties for 50 yards for the Sooners. Nebraska also benefited from a questionable reversal of Ryan Broyles’ strip in the first half.
Can’t remember a time when a team went 1-16 converting on 3rd down and won.
Jared Crick abused Stephen Good and Gabe Ikard all night long. Crick has done that to plenty of offensive linemen this year, but this matchup wasn’t even close.
More Red Zone Woes
All in all, I thought Kevin Wilson called a pretty good game. Yet again, however, the Sooners sputtered close to NU’s goal line. OU’s offensive line could benefit from some extra beef to get those tough yards, but Wilson still seems to struggle to find ways to hit paydirt.
Broyles’ Phantom Strip
I realize the refs took it away after reviewing it, but Broyles’ strip on Courtney Osborne’s interception return was a thing of beauty. Cue Jon Gruden: “This guy – just a great football player making a great football play.”
Bob Stoops takes plenty of flack for OU’s special teams play. Rightfully so. But, do you think he sniffs out Nebraska’s fake punt formation in the fourth quarter if he doesn’t oversee special teams? Me neither.
(By the way, I thought he should have accepted the holding call that preceded that play.)
Stevens gets knocked down a peg for missing a gimme. Otherwise, he came up big for the second week in a row.
(Freakonomics Question: Teams that are poor in the kicking game have less incentive to attempt long field goals. Statisticians agree that coaches don’t go for it enough on 4th down. In that respect, does having a sub-par kicker actually benefit a team?)
Defending the Zone Read
One big play aside, NU’s vaunted read option never really got going Saturday night. Taylor Martinez’s gimpy ankle may have contributed to that, but credit defensive coordinator Brent Venables and the OU defense with devising and executing an effective scheme for shutting down Big Red’s running machine.
Two fumble recoveries. An end zone interception that proved to be the game’s turning point. Enough said.
You could single out Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles Kenny Stills or Cameron Kenney individually for their play. All in all, though, OU’s passing game shined against a defense that finished in the top five nationally in yards per pass attempt, passer rating and interceptions.
OU’s 342 yards passing and average of 8.3 yards per pass were the most allowed NU all season. Most impressive, the Sooners had no qualms challenging Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Prince Amukamara.
OU in the Trenches
Crick may have worked over the interior of OU’s offensive line, but, overall, the Sooners won the battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The Sooner defensive line was relentless in the second half.
The “Big Game Bob” moniker has become a punchline, but OU’s dominance of the Big 12 under Stoops is undeniable. This being the final Big 12 championship game, it was fitting that the guy who has won seven of them came out on top.