While things most certainly didn't go right for the Sooner offensive attack all night long, there was one area where Oklahoma was relentless and unmerciful against the chink in the armor of the OSU defense. A quick peek at the box score will show that the Sooners capitalized in the passing game, and did so in a very big way.
Oklahoma fans may have mixed feelings about quarterback Landry Jones but there's no doubt that this game was on his shoulders and he carried the team to victory. His 500 passing yards were ten more than what Oklahoma State had in total offense and, despite making one crucial error, he was money all day. Think about this for just a second, Jones three a mind blowing 71 passes, completed 65% of them, and only had one pick. Kid needs to get some credit, not just for Bedlam but for his overall performance the last two weeks.
"What more do you want from a guy? He was fabulous out there tonight," Bob Stoops said about his fifth year senior quarterback. "Threw the ball all over, threw it well, throwing bullets everywhere and you're not seeing wobblers, you're not seeing balls that are tough to catch; they're in the right spots. The receivers did an excellent job, too, with them. Protection for the most part was really good, they got us a time or two but with a good team, that's going to happen. But overall, Landry was great."
As strong as I feel about Landry's performance, I also feel strongly that Jalen Saunders should be the Player of the Game. He caught ten passes from Jones for 162 yards and a score. He also made his mark on special teams with an 81-yard punt return that tied the game up at 38-38 in the fourth quarter. Justin Brown had a huge game as well, 15 catches for 146 yards, and Kenny Stills day could have been bigger had he not been plagued with the drops. That said, Stills was Oklahoma's third receiver to crack the century mark with 103 yards, and a score, on nine receptions. All that said, Saunders was still the most valuable player on the field for Oklahoma on Saturday.
While the Sooners had their way through the air, they were also effective on the ground. Brennan Clay scored the game-winning touchdown on an 18-yard run and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. As a team the Sooners had 106 net rushing yards but the 18 that were produced by Clay in the overtime were the most significant.
We certainly can't close out the offensive recap without mentioning the effort of Blake Bell to get the ball into the end zone in order to send the game into overtime. That's the kind of tough running play that we've learned to expect from Bell and, once again, he delivered. That said, I feel like Heupel totally over used Bell in this game. This kid has a designed purpose within this offense and it works because he's comfortable with it. Twice Heupel got a little crazy with him and put him in on drives that were moving fine and the team had continuity. Both times it killed the drive!
The first time was on Oklahoma's opening drive. The Sooners had gone from their own 25 to the OSU 16 in eight plays and were averaging 17 yards per play. Heupel inserts Bell into the game on a second and seven to hand off to Roy Finch on a sweep. The play was the smallest gain on the drive, netting just one yard, and broke the momentum of the drive. The end result would be a missed field goal and a wasted opportunity for the Sooners to take a lead right off the bat.
The second time came in the third quarter when the Sooners were driving to possibly take the lead for the first time on the day. Oklahoma had moved from their own 31 to the OSU 14 in five plays at an average of eleven yards per play. This time OU had a first and ten, from the 14, and Heupel once again inserts Bell into the game to hand the ball off. The result of the play was a fumble by Trey Millard and the second productive drive was killed by a personnel change.
Let me ask you this, how many times has Bell handed the ball off this season? Yeah, that's what I thought (You said, I don't know for sure but not very many). So why in the wide, wide world of sports would they send him in there (twice) on drive that were extremely productive?
The end result for the offense was 51 points and 618 total yards of offense so we really can't complain about them not getting the job done. I'll even say that Heupel calling two running plays in overtime was brilliant because OSU was clearly expecting pass both times. However, he did have those two moments in the game that left me wondering what the heck he was thinking.