The Oklahoma Sooners hosted the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday night in what ended up being a battle between the Sooner defense and the Wildcat offense. What happened to the Sooner offense? I think that is a question that has Sooner Nation churning the morning.
I travel from Dallas to all the home games in Norman and yesterday was no exception. I wasn’t able to leave as early as I wanted, which is very unlike me. So travelling there and the whole “game day” had a weird feeling from the start. I sat down with 10 seconds till kick-off and still had that weird feeling. It wouldn’t take long till I figured out what was causing it.
The first offensive drive of the game, Landry Jones and company actually looked great. Moving the ball well, running the hurry-up; things seemed to be clicking. The first drive resulted in a field goal. From there on out, it didn’t take long to realize that the red zone would be an issue for the Sooners.
If one were to not have seen any of the game and looked just at the stats, it may appear that Jones had an ok game: nearly 300 yards and only one interception. If you actually watched the game, you know those numbers are quite deceiving. Jones had two major mistakes both resulting in Kansas State touchdowns. The most costly and boneheaded of them all? A fumble near the Sooner goal line which resulted in a quick six for the Wildcats. The interception was thrown in the second half, when the Sooners had the lead 13-10. The pick gave the Wildcats great field position and Wildcat QB Collin Klein marched right down the field and handled business.
If I had to hand out a game ball to someone on the offense, it would go to WR Sterling Shepard, without a doubt. Shepard ended up with one touchdown, 108 yards on seven receptions. He was averaging 15 ypc. On one reception, he slid into the slot, turned on his heels and literally leaps over an opposing defenseman, who was standing up-right, to get his yardage. When the ball came his way, or at least came his way when it was catch-able and not under/over thrown, he made plays. Shepard has made a great addition to the Sooner offense, with a consistent QB, his possibilities are endless.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners started out great. They kept Klein in partial check and made him work for his yards. The rush defense was spotty, allowing big yardage at times. The Wildcats ended up with 209 ground yards, with 130 of those going to John Hubert. The secondary looked decent, but nothing to write home about. Late in the game, they had a series or two where they looked confused and out of sync and there was virtually no pressure on Klein at all.
I am not one to lay blame or point fingers at one player, but this week it is almost impossible not to. Jones made mistakes and decisions that a senior quarterback should never have made. There is no excuse for turning the ball over in your own red zone, three yards from the goal line. There is no excuse to completely overthrow wide receivers when you aren’t being pressured. The Wildcats won the game 24-19, but without the turnovers, especially the red zone one, the Sooners would have come out on top. With that said though, the Sooners lost as a team, not just because of one person.
As I have said since he took on the starting position at Kansas State, Collin Klein is the real deal. He proved he was in 2011 and is coming back for 2012 doing the same thing. When you have a coach like Bill Snyder showing you the ropes, you should only succeed. The Wildcats came out ready and wanted it more, a huge win was the result. The new AP poll has Kansas State at 8 and Oklahoma at 16. Some of the Rant Sports college writers nailed it their top 25 predictions, which was released before the AP was.
The Sooners enter week five with another bye before continuing on in conference play against Texas Tech.