Saturday, September 17, 2011
Instant analysis: Oklahoma 23, FSU 13
By Heather Dinich
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- It was a much better game than it was a year ago because Florida State is a much better team. There's no question the Seminoles closed the gap between Florida State and the No. 1 program in the country, just not enough to beat the Sooners. Here's a quick recap of Saturday night's 23-13 loss:
How the game was won: In the end, it was a veteran quarterback and one of the nation's top receivers against a rookie backup quarterback, and the veterans got the last word. Landry Jones' 37-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills went over the head of Greg Reid for a 20-13 lead with seven minutes remaining. Oklahoma's defense was stifling for most of the game, and the Seminoles struggled to generate any offense. Their backup quarterback, Clint Trickett, gave them legitimate hope despite a shoulder injury to EJ Manuel. But the offense couldn't answer Jones' final touchdown pass, and Trickett was intercepted with about 5:30 left to play. It was one of three turnovers for Florida State that was costly.
Turning point: With the score tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, on third-and-12, Jones found Ryan Broyles for a 22-yard completion and the first down. Jones found receiver Stills on the next play for a 37-yard touchdown that put the Sooners ahead for good.
Player of the game: Oklahoma receiver Stills. He had a big game, finishing with seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. It seemed like every pass he caught was for a first down, and his touchdown reception put the Sooners up 20-13.
Unsung hero of the game: Trickett. Florida State's backup quarterback hadn't thrown a pass in a collegiate game until this season. Against the No. 1 team in the nation, he put the Seminoles in position to win. Heading into this game, Trickett had a career stat line that included 7-of-8 passes for 176 yards and three touchdowns. Against Oklahoma, he led the Noles on two scoring drives, one a field goal and another an impressive touchdown pass. He was poised and the offense didn't miss a beat without Manuel. On third-and-28 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game, Trickett threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Rashad Greene to tie the game at 13. The Seminoles had struggled all night to generate some offense, and the rookie quarterback came up with the biggest offensive play of the game.
What it means: Oklahoma can finally claim an important road win with Jones at quarterback, and Florida State and the ACC will have to wait until next year for more national title talk. The Sooners entered this game with a 15-10 record in true road games since 2005 and Jones entered this game with a 3-5 road record. This was one they needed to start to reverse that trend.