The Oklahoma Sooners were off to a dreadfully slow start on Saturday and trailed the Iowa State Cyclones 10-7 in the second quarter. Their offense was struggling to find their footing in the game until Jalen Saunders provided the spark that ignited the Sooners to a dominant win with a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was exactly what Oklahoma needed.
Perhaps suffering a bit of a hangover from getting knocked around by the Baylor Bears the week prior, Oklahoma came out sputtering on Saturday against the woefully overmatched Iowa State defense. Once Saunders had given the team a shot in the arm with his dynamic return, however, things got going and the Sooners scored 45-unanswered points in the rout. While Saunders wasn’t a huge part of the offense the rest of the day (three catches, 15 yards), his contribution to the Oklahoma win is undeniable.
And getting that spark out of the special teams may be just what Oklahoma needs to finish the season strong and make a push for a possible BCS at-large bid. There have been several occasions this season where the offense has just gone missing but the Sooners can’t allow that to deter them. Getting a boost from Saunders on special teams is a great way for them to jumpstart things offensively and get some positive momentum to their side.
Saunders has shown a nice ability in the passing game this season, leading the team with 44 catches for 520 yards and five touchdowns. But he showed that he can be a threat every time he gets his hands on the football on Saturday. Will the added dimension of Saunders as a return threat give the Sooners the boost they need?