For the first time all season, the OU offense came out on the road and played up to their potential. And more importantly for the first time all season, the OU football team put together a dominating road performance. As well as the defense played, detailed in CC's defensive recap, it was the offense that set the tone early and often. For the second consecutive week, Kevin Wilson added some new wrinkles to the offense and is unofficially in the midst of his campaign to remove himself from my s@#% list. Are you really going to make me find a new guy to hate Kevin because you're doing a bang up job these last two weeks.
In all seriousness, the offense these past two weeks has been championship caliber and much of that can be directly attributed to the tweaks Wilson has made. Why it took 10 weeks and two losses into the season for that to finally happen is a question for another time. The only fact worth discussing at this point is this OU team has a chance to win another Big 12 championship and it will absolutely need the offense from the past two games to make the trip to
Stool Stillwater this Saturday. But I'm getting ahead of myself, before we get too carried away with Bedlam let's review Baylor
As we do here, let the bullets fly.
- Well early in the game, courtesy of a really bad INT, Sooner Nation was given a mini heart attack thanks to a brief glimpse of Bad Landry. Fortunately, that was the only time we'd see Bad Landry all night and he was able to recover and have by far and away his best road game this season (maybe ever?). OU opened the game with 12 straight pass plays, but would balance things out as the game progressed allowing Landry to not crumble under the pressure of having the entire game rest on his shoulders. In my own humble opinion, Saturday night was maybe the first road game ever where Landry didn't look to get easily flustered. He stepped up into the pocket on several occasions to avoid pressure which was definitely not something he was doing in prior games. Outside of that one bad INT, Landry was spot on and his display of pocket presence is certainly cause for some cautious optimism.
- Unfortunately, the OU run game wasn't as successful as the pass game. OU was only able to manage a 2.9 yard average on 37 carries. I came away from the game again thinking they didn't utilize their RBs enough. DeMarco Murray finished with only 13 carries and Roy Finch got just 10. I suppose in the grand scheme of things it really isn't a big deal, but I'd still like to see the RBs get more carries. Especially heading into Bedlam where I feel our best defense against an explosive OSU offense will be winning the time of possession and keeping their offense on the sidelines.
- That said, both Murray and Finch made several noteworthy plays last night against Baylor. We saw a burst from Murray on his 76-yard TD reception that has been missing since possibly his freshman season? Then you have Finch's 8-yard TD run that you'd have to see to truly appreciate. The athleticism it took for him to maintain his balance on that play, keep from going down, and recover to get the ball into the end zone was unreal. The kid has a chance to be something really special.
- I eluded to it in the open, but Kevin Wilson broke out another new formation against Baylor. Most people are referring to it as the 'Diamond' and I think it's something most fans have been calling for since Finch emerged in the Sooner back field. With Murray, Finch, and Trey Millard all lined up behind Landry, the formation provides multiple options and honestly I'm not sure how a defense could stop it. Also not sure why Saturday was the first time we saw it or why they didn't save it for Bedlam, but again those are things worth discussing at another time. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I'm a huge fan of this new wrinkle and hope to see plenty of it against OSU this Saturday.
- Ryan Broyles was Ryan Broyles.
- I'll avoid the soon to be way over mentioned lesson Kenny Stills learned thanks to a Bob Stoops butt chewing and rather focus on yet another outstanding game for the young freshman. He was able to haul in another long Landry Jones TD pass for a second consecutive week and is proving to be the Sooners best deep threat.
- Trey Franks was as involved in the offense as any game all year and is proving to be much more than just a track guy in pads. I don't think even the coaches could have anticipated him being this good of a route runner this early. It's just a matter of time before he gets the ball in space and leaves everyone in the dust. I'd be just fine if that game is this Saturday Trey, I'm just sayin'.
- Jimmy Stevens was perfect on Saturday night. Yeah, you read that right. He hit all three of his field goal attempts as well as all six extra point attempts. There is no arguing the kid has had his ups and downs, but this could potentially be the confidence booster he needed. I'll still be praying that we don't have to count on him to win Bedlam, but after Baylor I'd be maybe 1/100th less worried so that's at least a little better.
Now I just wouldn't be me if I didn't find something to complain about, so feel free to stop reading here if you like. For all the great that there was last night, I just can't get past this policy that Bob apparently has to keep his starters in late in blowout games. Evidently it doesn't matter if his team is up by 70 points, he's leaving his starters in through at least the 3rd quarter no matter what. It's an incredibly ridiculous policy and we saw exactly why against Baylor. Late in the game, several Sooner starters who should have been taken out well before, were either injured or put in position to be injured. Landry took several unnecessary big shots late, Demontre Hurst appeared to grab his hamstring defending a deep Baylor pass in the 4th quarter, Quinton Carter appeared to hurt his shoulder late, and possibly worst of all Roy Finch took a helmet-to-helmet hit that kept him lying on the field for several minutes.
Now one could argue that Finch is a "backup" and that's why he was in the game and that person would be an idiot. Finch is certainly the equivalent of a starter given how much he's been playing and OU clearly has other options that could have been in the game at that point. Mossis Madu and Brennan Clay being example 1A and 1B. By all accounts this morning after, Finch's injury does not appear to be serious (thank god) and early reports are he'll be available against OSU. But the fact remains he never should have been in that position in the first place and there is only one person to point the finger at, the head coach. You're in a game where you're up by 40 points, the other team has been out of it since before the half, there is ZERO chance of you losing this game. So why would you risk potential injury to your most valuable player/s by keeping them on the field?!? It's just infuriating to watch these coaches continue to put these kids back out there and fail to develop the players behind them, then come back the following season and complain that they don't have any "experienced" guys at "X, Y, Z position." Well maybe if you put these kids in the actual game when you've got a huge lead and more importantly, allowed them to run the offense and/or defense, you might not be in that position!
I'll stop short of calling this a great road win for our Sooners, but given their well documented struggles on the road it's probably just short of great despite it being against Baylor. I think we can just hope that this will be the confidence boost the team needs heading into one of, if not the biggest, Bedlam games in the history of the "rivalry." And I'm forced (not really) to put rivalry in quotes because until OSU is able to make this resemble something remotely close to competitive, I just refuse to recognize this game as a true rivalry. When your opponent would have to win nearly 80 consecutive games just to draw the series even, then I have a really hard time calling that team my rival. And with that, let
hate Bedlam week officially begin!