Saturday, December 3, 2011
Instant analysis: OK State 44, Oklahoma 10
By David Ubben
STILLWATER, Okla. -- That's as thorough a beating as any Bob Stoops team has taken since USC back in the Orange Bowl.
I believe for their efforts, the Trojans were given a ... national championship? Just some food for thought.
Followed by some analysis for dessert.
How the game was won: Oklahoma State dominated from start to finish in the 44-10 win. Oklahoma moved it early, but Oklahoma State piled on points after a Landry Jones fumble that set up the Cowboys' second touchdown. The second half never materialized as a real contest, especially after Jones inexplicably fumbled while trying to throw a bubble screen and Oklahoma State DE Richetti Jones scooped and scored from five yards out to make it 34-3 early in the third quarter.
Turning point: Down 10-0 and facing a 3rd-and-6 at OSU's 19, Jones was flushed out of the pocket, but OSU LB Alex Elkins caught him. He stripped the Sooners QB, and Jamie Blatnick returned the fumble 59 yards to the OU 1-yard line. The rout, as they say, was on.
Stat of the game: Remember that opportunistic Oklahoma State defense? The one that ranks second in the nation in turnover margin? It grabbed three turnovers in this one, stuffing an OU drive in OSU territory on one, returning another for a touchdown and returning a third to the 1. A solid beating turns to a rout fast when that happens.
Players of the game: Oklahoma State's offensive line. The holes were huge. Brandon Weeden had all day to throw. The Big 12's best front five played a heck of a game and gave the offense what it needed to operate, despite lots of early blitzes from Oklahoma that the Cowboys countered with screen passes. Late in the game, OSU continued to punish OU up front, too.
Second guessing: Poll voters and BCS computers. OSU didn't get any help from LSU, but Oklahoma State and Alabama were pretty close in my mind coming into Saturday night's game. The beatdown swung it in the Pokes' favor from where I'm sitting. No rematch. Let's see LSU's stifling defense take on an Oklahoma State offense that's scoring on everybody. LSU has never seen an offense like it would see in the Superdome. Oklahoma State's never seen a defense like it would encounter. Who doesn't want to see that?
What Oklahoma learned: It can't bounce back offensively from the loss of Ryan Broyles. It struggled last week against Iowa State. Baylor's defense? Well, it's not very good. But the Sooners struggled all night to put together a drive. Receivers weren't open, and OSU's corners, Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert, played outstanding games and both grabbed interceptions. Those receivers were plagued with the drops again, too, and without DE Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma's pass rush was non-existent.
What Oklahoma State learned: It can deliver a beating just like Oklahoma has done time and time again in this rivalry. The worst beating OSU had ever delivered before Saturday was a 47-0 win in 1945. Midway through the fourth quarter of this matchup, Oklahoma State fans started chanting "L-S-U! L-S-U!" in hopes that a date with the Tigers in the Superdome was on the way. Oklahoma State didn't surprise anybody by hanging as many points as it did, but the defense completely shutting down the Sooners? That's a shocker.
What it means: We're in for a very tense next 20 hours or so until the BCS standings are revealed on Sunday night. Virginia Tech, who was ahead of Oklahoma State in both human polls that factor into the BCS, lost to Clemson. That helps, and the lopsided fashion the Cowboys won will make lots of voters think twice about automatically putting Alabama at No. 2 behind LSU on their ballots. Oklahoma State can't hide from its horrible loss at Iowa State. But it has more quality wins than Alabama and has won all but two of its games impressively. Which will carry more weight?