Oklahoma Sooners Football: Sooners' Win Transcends Description
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It's almost insulting to think mere words can do justice to what just transpired in Morgantown, W. Va., Saturday night.
We can say Oklahoma beat West Virginia in a thrilling game, but that's much too terse.
First, the skinny (which seems like an egregiously unkind word to apply to a game this epic): Oklahoma 50, West Virginia 49. Yes, 50-49. If teams could score fractions of points, it probably would have been closer. The outcome of the final play reflects this as effectively as anything else: Geno Smith's Hail Mary heave fell sadly to the turf at the 2-yard line.
Other numbers begin to evoke its grandeur. Combined yards of offense: 1,440. Thirty-one total points scored in the fourth quarter alone. Sixty-two total first downs. Total passing yards: 874.
If you wanted to preserve all the memorable plays from this game, forget making a highlight reel. Get to work on a highlight box set.
Like a boa constrictor consuming a massive alligator, college football fans can savor this bout for a long time.
Landry Jones must get the props first because he led his team to victory. The senior threw for an eye-popping 554 yards and six touchdowns and led his team to an exhilarating win. His numbers alone are worth drooling over, but they are not even the tip of the iceberg.
Now, for the runner-up: the proud Mountaineers of Morgantown. It's hard to accept this team lost after the performance it just exhibited.
If you told me a team churned out 778 yards of offense and lost...well, I honestly don't know what I'd say. And I don't know what to say. West Virginia somehow came up a point short.
Now, for Tavon Austin's performance at tailback.
Let's say Dana Holgorsen and Co. are pleased with how their choice to give the wideout time at tailback turned out. He rushed for 344 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries, good for a 16.4-yard average. More importantly, as anyone who watched this game will tell you, the Sooners couldn't stop him. They couldn't even slow him down. The only times Austin didn't scorch the Sooners were when he wasn't given the ball (for some unfathomable reason).
The senior wideout, who is more slippery than a 10-foot moray eel, also had 82 receiving yards and finished with 572 all-purpose yards (a Big 12 record). No, that's not a typo. Austin alone accounted for almost a third of a mile in output tonight.
His performance was simply beyond words.
And he wasn't the only Mountaineer who turned in a legendary performance. Stud wideout Stedman Bailey finished with 13 catches for 205 yards and four touchdowns. Despite these delicious totals, it was Austin's exploits that stole the show.
In fact, Austin was the show.
And, somehow, West Virginia lost. How is this possible? How does one player (or two) dominate so consistently yet not lead his team to victory? That is merely one (but probably the most glaring) of the takeaways from this game.
The statistics for this game alone provide enough joy for a numbers-junkies to last several holiday seasons. Geno Smith finished 20-35 for 320 yards with four scores. Kenny Stills had four touchdowns.
The game was nothing less than epic; the only shame is that it had to end. I wish it could continue for eternity; the offensive onslaught would go on as long as the earth continued to spin.
At the end of the day, Landry Jones showed incredible poise and leadership in a hostile environment, calmly guiding his team to victory. He has had many ups and downs in his time as the Sooners' signal-caller, but this win has to be his magnum opus, a sweet exclamation point on a statistically-superb career.
Apart from an unfortunate decision that led to an interception late in the third quarter, Jones was nothing less than masterful against the Mountaineers.
Aided by great protection from his offensive line, Jones stood strong in the pocket, firing strikes to his potent arsenal of wideouts.
And Kenny Stills, Justin Brown and Jalen Saunders, among others, all performed beautifully, making clutch and skillful grabs throughout the night and perpetuating countless Sooner drives.
It's truly unfortunate a team had to lose this game.
In fact, "lose" doesn't even seem like the appropriate word. Rather, when the clock expired, Oklahoma had one more point than West Virginia. But this game will never be over, at least not in my mind. I'm going to see Tavon Austin sprinting down the sidelines and juking Sooner defenders out of their uniforms for years.
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