When you see “No. 1″ next to a team’s name on the schedule, it has a tendency to distort your expectations for how it is going to perform. Last night, No. 1 Oklahoma easily dispatched of Tulsa. There were just enough sloppy mistakes to make the Sooners’ play feel like it fell slightly short of what one would expect from the country’s top-ranked team, though.
Even so, as the season’s first edition of the “Ridiculous and Sublime” postgame wrap-up illustrates, the good far outweighed the bad for OU.
Of TU’s 271 passing yards Saturday night, 169 came off of three long completions. Busts in the secondary, particularly on the part of safety Javon Harris, marred an otherwise strong performance by the defense.
Temperature for the evening kickoff was a balmy 98 degrees. If there’s a silver lining to the heat, though, playing in Tallahassee won’t be a shock to the Sooner system.
(Get ready for some major nitpicking here.)
Trey Franks’ Ball Security
Aside from adding another seven points to an otherwise lopsided final margin, Franks’ fumble near the TU goal line late in the first half ultimately didn’t have any effect on the game. Can’t afford to have those kinds of mistakes against Florida State, though.
Jimmy Stevens’ Missed Extra Point
Stevens kicked fine on the whole. That missed point-after try was abysmal, though.
Landry Jones’ Passing
Jones ended the evening with typically strong numbers (35-47 attempts, 375 yards, 1 TD). However, ‘Stache didn’t really bring his A-game last night, misfiring occasionally on deeper routes and gunning a couple shorter touch routes.
Chalk it up to being the opening week.
Brandon Williams’ Absence
The hyped freshman running back never made it off the sidelines. Not cool, Cale Gundy.
Landry Jones’ Demeanor
Game by game, Jones appears more calm and in control of OU’s offense. He has morphed from the scared freshman Sooner fans first met into a poised field general. Watching the Sooners roll up and down the field with ruthless precision, it looks like that sense of ease is rubbing off on the rest of the offense.
Tony Jefferson’s Tackling
OU’s strongside linebacker tackles as well as anyone on the team, particularly in space. If he continues playing up near the line of scrimmage this year, No. 1 could end up on plenty of All-American teams in December.
Not having any speaks for itself.
The Sooner O looked pretty crisp in Heupel’s home debut as offensive coordinator, outside of a few opening week gaffes. OU played at the same breakneck pace seen when Kevin Wilson was manning the controls. There were a couple new wrinkles in the passing game, too, including a quads formation that looked downright Leachian.
Also, if you had any fears that Heupel would ignore the run, OU ran the ball 46 times, a number the Sooners topped only twice last season. That came with OU owning a major match-up advantage against the TU secondary.
You could count The Hammer’s mere presence on the field as a win. Eight tackles and a sack is cream cheese.
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew at defensive end gave fans cause for optimistic that OU can survive the loss of ultra-productive pass rusher Jeremy Beal to the NFL. They got pressure on shifty Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne and batted down a number of throws when he was able to deliver both inside and outside of the pocket.
Ho-hum. Kid’s a baller.
Plenty of skeptics dismissed the walk-on’s appearance on as the first-string tailback on OU’s depth chart as motivational gamesmanship by Bob Stoops.
The transfer from Langston University thumped the Golden Hurricane to the tune of 131 yards (7.3 yds/att) and count ‘em 4 TDs. Whaley, the breakout star of spring drills, ran as hard under the lights as he (supposedly) does on the practice field. Acknowledging that this is a big “if” – if OU can get that kind of contribution from him all season, it’s going to make the Sooners’ potent offense that much harder to stop.