OU needs to put points on the board early to take the crowd out of the game, and even things out. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Unsurprisingly, from the 2009 season through this year's Tulsa game, the Oklahoma Sooners are undefeated (12-0) in games in which they have built at least a 10-point lead in the first quarter. They also own a 0.857 winning percentage when scoring first in a game (18-3).
However, when the opponent scores first, that drops to a paltry 0.333 winning percentage (2-4).
If you isolate just true road games, the splits are 2-0 when building a 10-point first quarter lead, 2-1 when scoring first, and 1-4 when the opponent scores first.
Simply put, some of the biggest eggs that the Sooners have laid on the road in the Landry Jones era have come when the Sooners let the other team get on the scoreboard first (flashback: Missouri running back the opening kickoff last season).
I think that the "fast start" to a football game becomes even more critical tomorrow in Tallahassee. Everyone in that city has been hyping this game for months. The Seminoles are a program that is knocking on the door of returning to the party of the college football elite. They can sense that they are close. Things are coming back together. And what better way to get invited to the party than to knock off the consensus number one team in the land?
The atmosphere is going to be absolutely crazy. If you exclude intrastate rivalries (Florida, Miami), this has to be one of the biggest games in Doak Campbell Stadium in many, many years.
Their fans will be arriving at the stadium on an emotional high, ready to scream their lungs out like we did against Texas Tech in Norman in 2008. A quick start will take the wind out of their collective sails, and put the Sooners at a bit of an advantage.
A lot of you are probably thinking, "duh", but I honestly believe unless we put a decent amount of points on the board early that this will be an extremely difficult game. To that effect, I think that the offensive line play will be critical, especially early on. False start penalties only make the crowd louder. We have so many weapons on offense, that if they give Landry time in the pocket, or open up lanes for the running backs, it should be fairly easy to move the ball. The offensive line must show up.