Saturday, November 26, 2011
OU wins, but issues persist before Bedlam
By David Ubben
Oklahoma won. That's done with.
The 26-6 final score over the Cyclones is convincing enough not to raise eyebrows. It should, though.
The Sooners suffocated Iowa State's offense, perhaps aided a bit by wind ,and quarterback Jared Barnett never consistently found receivers. The defensive miscues and poor safety play that plagued the Sooners against Baylor last week was gone, but Iowa State has nothing close to what Baylor has at its skill positions. Still, the defense was impressive.
But the offense?
It's clear this offense misses Ryan Broyles, and today, missed receiver Jaz Reynolds, too. Reynolds was suspended for a violation of team rules, and had a banged up shoulder from last week's loss to the Bears. Landry Jones' most reliable and most-often open target is gone, and against the Cyclones, it showed.
Jones finished 22-of-43 for 253 yards and no touchdown passes for the second consecutive game. His first interception? A ball thrown well enough to have been caught, but tipped up on a drop by Kameel Jackson and intercepted by ISU safety Ter'Ran Benton.
Why was Jackson playing? Because he had to. No Broyles and no Reynolds means the Sooners must dig deeper into the depth chart.
His second interception came on a pass intended for Trent Ratterree but CB Jeremy Reeves didn't clear out on an in route by Dejuan Miller and snatched an easy interception.
Who would have thought that missing the all-time FBS leader in receptions could leave a gaping hole in a passing offense. Oh, everyone? OK.
Backup quarterback Blake Bell's played well in short yardage situations and punched in eight touchdowns in three games for the Sooners.
It's clear Jones misses Broyles and against Oklahoma State next week, the Sooners will have to put up points. Iowa State's defense is improving, but Oklahoma State's defense is better. Make the same kinds of mistakes against Oklahoma State next week with a Big 12 title in the balance and the eight-year run of in-state dominance is over for the Sooners.
Reynolds will likely be back. That'll help.
But Oklahoma State has the offensive weapons to stretch the defense and force the offense to make plays. Turn the ball over three times in the second half next week like the Sooners did today and that's a near certainty. The defense forced four turnovers but the offense turned them into just nine points.
It was an ugly day. The defense might be capable of carrying the Sooners next week, but life would be easier if the Sooners offense made sure we all didn't find out.
If that's going to happen, there's plenty of work to do before next Saturday in Stillwater.