Dustin Hopkins did his job by getting a touchback to start the game. Landry Jones hit DeMarco Murray on a key 3rd and two conversion from their own 28, then Jones hooked up with Ryan Broyles for a pair of double digit gains and the Sooner's were on the march. A Jones to Cameron Kenney hook up had OU inside the 10 yard line and Murray cleaned it up for a TD three touches later.
Hindsight: Probably the key play on this drive was a 3rd and 7 from FSU's 30. If the defense can hold them to a field goal, they get a little confidence, who knows what could have happened. It was not to be as Jones found Kenny Stills for a 10 yard gain.
The 'Noles answered with their best drive of the game as they took over at the 30. Christian Ponder ran for nine yards, then Jermaine Thomas ripped off 14 to get us inside the 50. After an incompletion, Ponder found Bert Reed for 13 yards. Two plays later Ponder hit Beau Reliford for nine yards on a key 3rd and 4. Ponder ran for 15 yards to the one, and Thomas scored two plays later to tie the game.
Hindsight: FSU did exactly what they needed to do.....answer with a drive of their own. It took close to five minutes off the clock. Six different players had touches.
Jones picked up right where he left off with a 22 yard completion to Murray; Once inside the 50, OU had runs of 4, 9, 7, 9, and 1 yard before Jones hit Broyles on a 18 yard strike.
The 'Noles needed to answer and came up empty on their second drive. An incompletion to Willie Haulstead was followed by a sack which had Shawn Powell punting from his endzone. He boomed a 60 yarder which Broyles returned for 10. At this point, we are down 14-7, we are on the road, the opponent is on the 50, the defense needs to dig deep and get a stop.
The key play is a 3rd and two at the FSU 46 as the first quarter was winding down. Alas, we could not get the stop as Murray ran for three yards.......two plays later Jones hit Cameron Kenney for a 36 yard touchdown. Bam 21-7.
Hindsight: THIS SIX MINUTE WINDOW really set the tone for the game. We are kicking off tied 7-7. They score, we go 3 and out, they score. All of a sudden things are on the cusp of disaster. This illustrates the margin for error in the sport, it just is not much.
Even after the last six minutes, we should still have some confidence, we have an offense, they need to get to work. They do just than with a completion to Taiwan Easterling and a key Ty Jones run for 2 yards on 3rd and 1. Ponder then turned to Easterling(8 yards) and Thomas(21 yards) and we were knocking on the door at the OU 40.
Momentum is back, but we immediately shoot ourselves in the foot with a false start penalty. Thomas only gets a yard on 1st and 15 and now we need to make a play. We don't, Ponder gets sacked and it is 4th and 13 from the OU 43.
Hindsight: Coach Fisher punted which is certainly the percentage call. Powell kicked it in the endzone which is the only thing he can't do. He has to pin them back there where field position takes them out of their comfort zone. OU proceeds to have their best drive when they go 80 yards in five plays and it is 27-7 with about eight to go in the second quarter.
We take over at the 18 and certainly NOW we are going to march down the field, perhaps get into the half at 28-14. Nope, we are punting five plays later. Then we give them a 1st and 5 after we jump offsides. The Sooner's were marching but FINALLY the defense made a play when Anthony McCloud recovered a Jones fumble. No harm, no foul with the previous drive. We have the ball, down 27-7 with 3:30 to go in the second quarter.
The ONLY thing at this point you don't want to happen is for it to get worse. 27-7 is not a great spot to be in, but you can make a run, you can come back, even on the road. We go three and out..........with two incompletions(and a hurry up in between).......which means OU gets the ball back with 3:08 left at their own 30.
WE GET A STOP. Everett Dawkins sacks Jones for a loss of nine. For the SECOND time........no harm, no foul. We have the ball back at our own 32 with 2:10 to go. Plenty of time for a late scoring drive.......and once again, the ONLY thing you don't want to happen is to be in worse shape than 27-7 at the half.
Pass complete to Reed for 4 yards.
Incomplete to Haulstead.
Incomplete to Reed.
41 yard punt. Returned 8 yards.....with a 15 yard personal foul on FSU which sets OU up at the FSU 49 with 1:36 to play with. The Sooner's only needed a minute for Murray to score and make it 34-7 at the half.
Hindsight: Football is a game of momentum and the offense really let us down here. The defense came through with a turnover and a stop and both times the offense did nothing....at a point in the game where they have to make a play, get some points. Adding insult to injury is the last TD which for all intents and purposes ends all hope.
NoleDigest First Half Take: FSU clearly ran into a "buzzsaw" with Jones having a "hot" start and first half. Rome was not built in a day defensively, but we are much better than we showed here. More alarming was the offense sputtering, we simply can't have that this year.
The team was ready to play, the coaches were prepared, the players were prepared. We just did not make the plays and they did. Credit should be given to Coach Bob Stoops and his staff as OU looked in late season form just one week after looking not so stellar.
Part Two will anlayze the second half.