Doak Campbell Stadium was ROCKING last night!
All through the spring and summer, the players for Florida State ruminated over their embarrassing loss in Norman against Oklahoma. Many of their players stated that they used that game as motivation throughout the offseason with the promise to themselves they would not be playing like that again this time around.
The Sooners knew that FSU would be a different team in their own house. They knew the Seminoles would be ready and waiting for them as they had an opportunity for redemption.
This was a major test for both teams.
It was a game that everyone circled when the schedules came out, understanding that this would be a battle of two top five teams. With all of this on the line, the two teams battled for 60 minutes and the Sooners prevailed 23-13 for a well-deserved victory.
With that said, what did we learn?
FSU needed two QBs when the starter was knocked out of the game
E.J. Manuel was harassed and took some hard licks from the Oklahoma defense. In the third quarter, Manuel scrambled a few yards but was crushed by Travis Lewis. As he went down, his left shoulder was the first body part to hit the ground. When he got up his shoulder was hurting enough that on his next attempted pass, he realized he had to leave the game. He did not return.
Oklahoma sent blitzes from every direction, with hurries, sacks, and interceptions. Six times the FSU QBs were sacked for big losses. FSU ended up with only about 40 percent of the yardage they had last week. The Sooners made big time picks that changed the course of the ball game.
Last year there were many critics of the OU defensive squad. They gave up too many yards and didn't seem to be the type of defense normally associated with Coach Bob Stoops. This year, the critics have been silenced.
For the moment, anyway.
That is pretty cool!
It was meant to excite the home town fans, but I have to admit I really liked it when Chief Osceola rode into the stadium with the war lance on fire. Then when he went to midfield, gave a war whoop and planted the fiery lance into the field, showing that the Seminoles were ready for battle. If I had been in the stadium I would have stood up with the Florida State fans and cheered along with them.
This is a terrific example of the reason that college football games are the best sporting events anywhere! Think about it, Chief Osceola doing his thing, the Sooner Schooner scooting across the field, these are just two demonstrations of the long-time traditions that give the color and pageantry that creates the tremendous atmosphere for college football.
By the way, the Seminoles have some very attractive young ladies on their cheerleading squad. Not that I noticed, of course, since I was watching the game with my wife.
Talk about some hard hitters!
Last year Oklahoma and Landry Jones torched the Seminole defense time after time.
During the pregame hype I kept hearing interviews about how hard the players had worked to make certain that didn't happen again. They spoke of their determination to give an account of themselves. I kept wondering if they could have really made that much progress in one year.
My conclusion at the end of the game was YES, they did make that much of a change in one year!
I was tremendously impressed with how strong the Seminoles were last night. I have watched how these Sooners can move the ball. At the end of the first drive I felt that we would again roll over Florida State. Boy, was I wrong!
Oklahoma made enough plays to win, but we had to go way deep to find those plays necessary to do so! They made strong plays to stop our running game. They made athletic plays to hold our passing attack under control until we found some way to pull out the victory.
I am totally convinced that it took the top team in the country to gain the "W" last night. As this team gels as the season goes on over the next few weeks, by midseason FSU could be back up in the polls near where they were before this game.
Good job, Noles!
Who said Jones can't win a road game?
On the first drive, the Oklahoma offense took over eight minutes off the clock in a march right down the field to score the first touchdown. Then the FSU defense stood up. From that time Oklahoma realized we were in an old-time dogfight.
As an aside, I will be interested to hear what the Coastal Carolina coach has to say about cats after being totally destroyed last night! It would seem he has a whole team of cats!
In the fourth quarter, the second team QB threw a pass on 3rd and 28 and two OU defenders misjudged the coverage. The receiver broke the defense open on one play and took it to the house.
Suddenly, the Sooners were tied with an FSU team that had their home field crowd rocking that stadium. This was what the Seminoles needed to do to pull off the upset. It appeared that this was the perfect time for Landry Jones to fold under the pressure.
But that did NOT happen!
Instead, Jones converted a third and twelve pass to Ryan Broyles to sustain the drive. He followed that with a pass to the end zone that allowed Kenny Stills to make a terrific catch to retake the lead.
The defense picked the ball at midfield and the game was on the line. A three-and-out would have meant the Seminoles had a chance to pull the game out as the clock wound down.
But that didn't happen either!
Instead, Jones put together a drive that chewed up the clock and gave Oklahoma a chip-shot FG for a two score lead that iced the game.
In my humble opinion, Landry Jones should NEVER have to answer the question again about whether he can win on the road. He did what it took to win when it looked like this was the opportunity to do otherwise. He was the field general that the No. 1 Sooners needed to win in a very difficult and rowdy road stadium and he willed the Oklahoma team to this victory.
Isn't that what a Heisman Trophy candidate needs to do?
Bob Stoops has never had to fire assistants because his subordinates keep going on to head coaching jobs!
Make no mistake—Florida State has a top level coach in Jimbo Fisher and he has turned the corner with the Seminole program. FSU is back to a high level after a decade of mediocrity.
With that said, Coach Stoops pulled his team together and they did not fail in what truly was a "Big Game."
Just as with Landry Jones, there have been critics of Stoops that have failed to realize that his teams have won a lot of big games. How else would they have won 7 Big XII Championships in 12 years? He won enough big games to be the only program in the country to have played a game in every single BCS bowl venue. How many other teams have been to four MNC games since 2000? And his team could make it five MNC games this year. Hopefully he will be 2-3 in the biggest games in college football!
Thanks, Coach Stoops, because it looks like this could be one of those "special" years!