OU's win both confounds and convinces
NORMAN, Okla. -- Things we learned from Oklahoma's 47-17 win against Florida State:
If ever there was a blowout that created more questions than answers, this was the one. You left Memorial Stadium early Saturday evening wondering if the Sooners are that overwhelmingly good or if the Seminoles are that shockingly gruesome.[+] EnlargeMatt Strasen/US PresswireLed by Landry Jones, Oklahoma dominated Florida State in every facet of the game.
Oklahoma dominated the game. I can't think of much that the Sooners didn't do better than the Seminoles. OU muscled up on passing yards, on total yards, on big plays, on small plays, on interceptions, on sacks, on brother vs. brother drama and on points. OU even did their pregame stretching exercises better.
"This is definitely what we're capable of as a team,'' said OU star linebacker Travis Lewis. "Last week we didn't play up to standards. I think this week you saw a glimpse -- we didn't play perfect -- of the team we're really capable of being.
Last week. That would have been the seven-point sleepwalk win against unranked and underdog Utah State at home. So drab and unimpressive was the victory, you could feel the Sooner Nation angst sweeping across the plain.
Actually, you could feel it everywhere except in the OU football complex. Inside the building, OU coaches kept reminding themselves and their players that Utah State had been a splinter in the OU thumb. Florida State would be the tweezers.
Oklahoma needs Landry Jones at his best to get where it wants to go this season. He delivered against Florida State.
"I wasn't worried about last week,'' said OU coach Bob Stoops.
He wasn't worried because the Sooners staff purposely kept the Utah State game plan short and simple. If it had been a car, it would have come without automatic transmission, power windows and air conditioning. The Florida State game plan came with all the luxury options.
OU quarterback Landry Jones struggled and pressed in the opener. Against the Seminoles he played like Sam Bradford Jr. He tied a career best in completions (30 of 40), threw for 321 yards in the first half (second-best in school history) and finished with four touchdown passes and 380 yards.
"I thought this was one of my better games that I've played here,'' he said.
You think? Florida State didn't seem to have a clue how to stop him, or OU's play-a-nanosecond offense, or OU's tight ends, or those quick passes to OU's wideouts. And I mean this in the nicest way, but an FSU coach has to tell cornerback Greg Reid that it's OK to use his arms when tackling somebody.
Until the Seminoles scored on the final play of the game, they were headed to their worst loss since 1983. OU doubled them up on first downs (28-14), third-down conversions (10-5) and almost doubled them up on pass yardage (394-222). The Sooners were 5 for 5 in the red zone, sacked now-former Heisman Trophy candidate Christian Ponder (11-of-28 for 113 yards, zero TDs, two interceptions) four times and generally caused new coach Jimbo Fisher a Percy Harvin-like migraine.[+] EnlargeMatthew Emmons/US PreswireBob Stoops didn't relish facing off against his brother, FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops.
"It was a complete team thing that we need to get fixed,'' said Fisher.
FSU plays BYU next week. Oklahoma plays the team that beat BYU Saturday, Air Force. The Zoomies run that funky rushing offense (409 of their 477 total yards against BYU came on the ground), so the Sooners have to completely reconfigure their defensive game plan. But at least there isn't a Stoops on the Air Force staff.
Not only did OU score 47 points against Florida State, but it scored 47 points against new FSU coordinator Mark Stoops' defense. Mark is Bob's younger brother. If you gave Bob the choice between facing one of his brothers (Mike Stoops coaches Arizona) or trading in his signature white OU visor for a Vegas showgirl feather headpiece, Bob might choose the Vegas look.
"Horrible rotten,'' said Bob of the inaugural Stoops Bowl. "It's a rotten place to be. I appreciate the way our team played and all of that, but you just cannot separate blood. I just don't like it. I knew that going into the game that I didn't [like it] and I'm positive of it now after the game.''
The Sooners, featured prominently on the short list of preseason national championship contenders, are 2-0 and spend most of their September in Norman (they play at Cincinnati). But what do we really know about them? We know that we won't know anything until Oct. 2, when they travel to Dallas for the annual game against Texas.
There was a lot to like about the Sooners Saturday. Jones put up big numbers. The OU secondary, a no-show against Utah State, returned from the witness protection program. The Sooners extended their home win streak to 32.
But liking and loving are two different things. Oklahoma played well, it played hard and it played up to the opponent and to the occasion. Those are good things. But Stoops had it right when he warned everyone not to read too much into the final score.
"To me, it's one game,'' he said.
It's a game worth remembering. And if the Sooners are smart -- and they are -- it's a game worth forgetting. Too many other games remaining.
Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at email@example.com.
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