I sent out a few sarcastic tweets during this game about how I'd be much more upset with the Sooners' performance if it were against any other team, but because UTEP is the best team in college football, I was okay with it. While I was likely the only person laughing at my attempts at comedy, the tweet at least held some merit.
Okay, in no way is UTEP the best team (or in the top 50) in college football, but the Miners held their own and proved to be a decent team—better than what the Sooners could have imagined; certainly better than what I could have imagined.
UTEP ranked No. 104 in total defense last season, but they were able to hold a high-octane Sooners offense to 428 yards, well below their season average of 512 yards per game last season. Had the Miners not missed three field goals, they would have held a lead going into the fourth quarter.
Alas, the Sooners finally put together a few solid drives in the final 12 minutes, solidifying the victory against a UTEP team that was physically gassed. Their defense had played so well for the first three quarters—the Sooners merely out-conditioned them.
The Sooners came out flat against the Miners. Their body language looked like they weren't even excited to be on the field at times. This was supposed to be a blowout, but the Miners were ready. They were the more prepared team, and that falls on the coaches' shoulders.
Coming out flat has been a problem for awhile now. Is it the players? Are Bob and Mike Stoops not doing the right things to get their troops motivated? Whatever it is, it needs to be fixed.
The Sooners can't continue to overlook opponents. I have to figure that this will be talked about and fixed before next weekend's game, but I'm nervous not much will change. It is the first home game of the season, though, so it's going to be an entirely different atmosphere.
Still, getting excited to play a Florida A&M team that just lost to Tennessee State can't be an easy task. The Rattlers will be overmatched in every sense of the term, but UTEP was, too.
Should Sooner fans prepare themselves for another potential scare? I don't think so. However, the Sooners have to treat this like a big-time game, and that goes for every game from here on out.