A 41-31 win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday has given a new perspective to Oklahoma's season. For one, head coach Bob Stoops passed Barry Switzer for the most career wins at Oklahoma with 158. And he did it against Bill Snyder, whom he coached under from 1989-95.
Now, the Sooners have a chance at a 10-win season and remain alive for a share of a Big 12 title. As David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest notes, that means Stoops has the potential to have his 12th season of 10 or more wins at Oklahoma. He can accomplish that feat with either a win over Oklahoma State or a bowl win.
That doesn't happen every day.
But another season of double-digit wins understandably looked like a stretch this year. The Sooners were breaking in a new quarterback—they've bounced back and forth between Trevor Knight and Blake Bell—and ended up losing key starters on both sides of the ball to injuries. Among those lost for the season are fullback Trey Millard, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and linebacker Corey Nelson.
The quarterback issue has been dictated by injuries too. Knight and Bell have missed games because of knee and head injuries, respectively. Additionally, offensive coordinator Josh Heupel has taken a lot of heat for his play-calling, some of it deserved.
Up until Knight returned to the field in Week 12 against Iowa State, the Sooners' offense didn't have much of an identity. But things have since settled down on that side of the ball with Knight in control. Oklahoma stuck to what it does best, which is running the ball, against Kansas State and racked up 301 yards.
The offense wasn't the only side that made adjustments against the Wildcats. A young and somewhat battered Oklahoma secondary lost several battles against Wildcats wide receiver Tyler Lockett, who had 278 yards receiving and three touchdowns. However, most of those yards came in the first half. Lockett was far less of a factor in the final 30 minutes of the game.
In short, there was some excellent coaching by Oklahoma's staff on Saturday against one of the hottest teams in the conference. Stoops and his assistants deserve a lot of credit for that.
Despite the injuries and the offensive struggles, Oklahoma has a chance to make this another great season—a season many programs only dream about. There won't be a national title coming back to Norman this year. There may not even be a Big 12 title. But if Stoops can get Oklahoma to 10 wins, it should be considered one of his best coaching jobs in his 15 seasons with the Sooners.
Yes, Stoops is certainly deserving of a Gatorade bath for that. If his players can catch him, that is.
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