Oklahoma Shuts Down Florida State, Shuts Up Critics
After a hard fought game with what the rest of the country thinks is a weak football team in Utah State, the nay sayers came out in droves to criticize the Sooners. Pointing out players and even whole position groups, the critics and even some of the fans had already anointed Florida State winners before the game kicked off.
Most felt that Oklahoma was overrated, the rest looked at the Christian Ponder led Seminoles as being just that good. Either way, all agreed that the nations longest home winning streak was about to come to an end.
It now sits at 32 straight.
Fourteen ranked teams have come to Norman, Okla., to play the Sooners at Owen field during Bob Stoops tenure, and all have walked out on a loss.
Now that Utah State was still impressive in a 38-17 rout of Idaho State, with USU quarterback Deondre Borel still showcasing his underrated talents, maybe people will start to believe me that they are a very solid football team.
No matter though, because the critics have gone home, for now at least.
Coming in as a Heisman favorite by some, Ponder looked the part on the Seminoles first drive that tied the score up at seven. Then the Sooners defense came alive, shutting down the senior signal caller in impressive fashion.
No longer a viable Heisman candidate, Ponder ended the day 11-28 for only 113 yards, no touchdowns and two picks. Considered a running threat by some, he only had 23 yards on nine rushes (15 yards on one play).
Being questioned after getting torched last week for over 300 yards through the air, the OU secondary answered the bell, closing down passing lanes and batting down six tosses. Add to that the front seven getting constant pressure on a veteran FSU offensive line and it all equaled to a very bad day for Ponder and the Seminole offense.
The Sooner defense suffocated the FSU offense for basically the whole game (the biggest play was a 34 yard rush), but this game was a total domination effort, with the offense and special teams matching the intensity of the defensive unit.
The other head-turner was the shutting down of FSU corner/punt returner Greg Reid. Reid stepped on Owen field as the nations most deadly return man (led FBS in return yardage in 2009).
Tress way proved to the nation how a world class punter can out-duel a return man, with two booming kicks that only netted Reid a career low 1 yard (0.5 per attempt, ouch!). Reid was also contained for only 36 yards in kick-offs by a still underrated coverage unit that boasted another crushing hit by Ronnell Lewis.
Not only a retun man, Reid was the spring ball MVP for FSU, and emerged as the defenses top corner. Somebody forgot to tell OU quarterback Landry Jones that, because he picked on the sophomore corner to no end. The last three touchdown passes of the first half for the Sooners, were all directed at Reids' man.
Touchdowns that effectively took the 'Noles out of the game.
Jones had a career day, going 22-28 for 321 yards and 3 TD's in the first half alone, only Sam Bradford has thrown for more yards in a half (350). With the lead intact, the Sooner coaching staff backed it off some, an Jones ended the day 30-40 for 380 yards, four TD's. A closer look shows he went 24-32 under 15 yards, and 5-7 above 15 yards, keeping the Seminole secondary guessing.
OU fans should be pleased to know that Jones hooked up with ten different receivers, and was protected very well, only going down once and rarely getting hurried. This is the most positive sign to me, if the line protects Jones, he has the ability to slice up any defense in the country.
Just another day at the office for Ryan Broyles, 12 grabs for 124 yards, not to mention a disrespectful side line shove by DT Cameron Erving that Broyles laughed off.
When will the media finally give Broyles the credit he's due? I'm talking Heisman here, not just Biletnikoff.
At the end of the day, the Oklahoma Sooners showed that they still belong in the national championship chase talk with an impressive win against a top 20 team. A win that saw all three phases of Oklahoma Sooner football show up in a big way.
Defensive line coach Jackie Shipp said in the OU wrap-up show, "Everybody's happy, offensively, defensively, all the fans, everybody is happy."
I don't know if everybody is happy like coach Shipp suggests, but at least the critics and haters that aren't have been quieted, if only for the moment.
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