A year ago, Oklahoma suffered a disappointing November loss to Baylor that essentially ended the Sooners’ hopes of playing for a national championship. The Sooners zombied their way through a win over Iowa State a week later, portending an abominable end to the season.
OU once again played ISU coming off its second loss of the season, but the historical parallels pretty much ended there. The Sooners didn’t give an A+ performance in a 35-20 victory over the Cyclones on Saturday. However, in the wake of last week’s defeat at the hands of Notre Dame, the Sooners looked sharp enough to ease any fears that they have checked out on the season.
OU doesn’t have the best offense in the country – that unit resides out in Eugene, Ore. OU’s performance Saturday offered evidence that the Sooners probably do have the deepest complement of offensive weapons, though.
OU finished the game with 34 first downs and just shy of 600 yards in total offense. Even though he threw two frustrating interceptions, Landry Jones still lit up the ISU defense to the tune of 405 yards passing, completing 32 of 45 attempts. Jones connected with three different receivers on his four scoring passes, and a total of nine players had catches on the day.
The most encouraging development for the Crimson and Cream might have been the play of junior tailback Brennan Clay. With leading rusher Damien Williams limited due to an ankle injury, Clay toted the rock 24 times for 157 yards and a back-breaking touchdown in the second half.
The story on the other side of the ball was Tony Jefferson, who continues to excel under defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mike Stoops. One whiff aside, the junior safety provided tremendous run support in addition to his usually stellar work patrolling the middle of the field. His nine stops once again led the Sooners in tackles, and his interception of a Steele Jantz pass late in the fourth quarter essentially snuffed out any hopes of a Cyclones comeback.
Yes, it was only Iowa St. Beating the ‘Clones won’t get anyone to sit up and take notice.
Still, OU has a great shot at a BCS bowl game if it can win out. Saturday, the Sooners gave no indications that they’re just playing out the string.