Just a week after looking like a team with more problems than positives, the Oklahoma Sooners came out Saturday looking like the national title contender people projected them to be at the start of the season. The Sooners came out firing on all cylinders and rolled the Florida State Seminoles in Norman, 47-17. Breaking down the performances of each individual unit will be much more enjoyable than last week!
Landry Jones looked extremely poised and comfortable in the pocket and every part the much improved quarterback we expected to see this year. Jones finished the day 30-40 for 380 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. He did have one fumble, but it was inconsequential in the grand scope of the game.
Jones made great decisions throughout the game and was right on the spot with almost every single throw. This was a dramatic improvement from last week when Jones was extremely out of sync with his receivers. Overall, Jones looked more like a Heisman trophy candidate than his counterpart Christian Ponder.
Running Backs: C
One week after a career-best performance by senior DeMarco Murray, the Sooner backfield looked less than impressive. The Sooners picked up 93 total yards on 41 attempts, a measly 2.3 yard per carry average.
However, each running back that played, Murrary, Mossis Madu, and Jermie Calhoun, showed flashes of what each is capable of. Part of the poor performance was contributed to the fact that the Sooners ran a ton of bubble screens and swing passes that served as a form of a running attack. Oklahoma didn't exert a lot of effort in trying to establish a run game, but what they did do wasn't the greatest thing.
Wide Receivers: A-
The Sooner receiving corps wasn't Ryan Broyles and a few scattered catches this week. Many different guys stepped up and Landry Jones rewarded them with well placed balls. Twelve different receivers had a catch on the afternoon, including two touchdown catches from the tight end position.
James Hanna had the first of his career and Trent Ratteree had a short catch where he battled through several defenders to reach the end zone. Broyles was once again Jones' favorite target, but four different players caught touchdown passes and all worked hard to get open and make plays.
Offensive Line: B+
Tale of two games. The line did a great job of run blocking last week and a so-so job of pass blocking. This week, it was the exact opposite. The line did a fantastic job giving Landry Jones time to make great passes, but wasn't able to push a young and inexperienced Florida State defensive line off the ball in order to establish a running game.
Overall, this unit truly is vastly improved from last year, but still needs to work on the consistency. When this line can combine solid pass blocking with forceful run blocking, this offense is going to take off in a big way.
Defensive Line: B+
Having Frank Alexander back and Adrian Taylor a week healthier really helped this unit, but they still gave Christian Ponder a little too much time in the pocket at times.
However, the Sooners were able to accumulate four sacks on the day and limited the Seminoles running game to fairly ineffective. Ponder was off his mark a lot because of the pressure that the Sooners were able to put on the Seminoles. The line did a great job for being matched against an extremely experienced offensive line.
Another solid performance for this extremely deep and talented unit. Freshman Tom Wort played within himself and didn't let his emotions get the best of him. Travis Lewis played his usual best and had an interception and Ronnell "The Hammer" Lewis had some big hits to add to his reputation.
The unit really helped limit the Seminole run game and also provided pressure and clogged Ponder's passing lanes. There were some missed tackles which explains the lower than expected mark, but overall, a good showing.
Night and day difference from last week. A week after being torched for 341 yards, the secondary faced a Heisman Trophy contender. They passed the test with flying colors, holding Ponder to 11-28 passing and picked off two passes. The secondary also had several pass breakups, not letting the FSU receivers get anything easily. Overall, it was a phenomenal performance after being dismal last week against Utah State.
Special Teams: A-
Tress Way had another solid day of punting, averaging 52.3 yards per punt on his three punts. Patrick O'Hara did make two field goals, but he also missed a 44-yarder wide right and an extra point. Consistency is something that is hard to come by, but O'Hara is definitely a solid kicker that continues to get better with time.
A rumor was spread this week that the Sooners did not really game plan for Utah State last week, instead, choosing to focus their attention on Florida State and rely on sheer athleticism to beat the Aggies. After the Sooners' performance today, it doesn't seem to far out of the league of possibilities of what happened last week.
Oklahoma played up to its true potential today and in the process, erased a lot of doubt that popped up in the past week. The Sooners are very much a national title contender and a season playing like they did today could have them booking a trip to Glendale in January.