Avoiding the "Look-Ahead" Syndrome:A+
Let's not sugarcoat it here. The Kansas Jayhawks (1-6, 0-4 Big 12) are awful. As in, worst-in-the-Big 12-and-it's-not-even-close awful. Still, if the Sooners (5-1, 3-1 Big 12) came out a little sloppy after dismantling the Longhorns 63-21 last week it would be understandable. Lowly KU was sandwiched in between Texas and a home date against No. 5 Notre Dame next week. Forget about it. Oklahoma dominated in all phases against KU from start to finish, picking back up right where they left off a week ago against UT. Now, College Gameday will head to Norman, Okla., for a battle of top ten teams between Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
In case you did not know, the Sooners made history against the Jayhawks by returning both a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the same game for the first time in OU history. Senior punt returner Justin Brown hauled in a Ron Doherty punt at his own 10, broke several tackles, then dazzled his way into the end zone off a cutback to extend the OU lead to 24-0. The 90-yard scoot and score went down as the fifth-longest punt return in Oklahoma history. Still, it took junior running back Roy Finch's 100-yard kickoff return touchdown to complete the trip to the history books. The 5-foot-8-inch, 180-pound speedster took The Opening kickoff of the second half right at his own goal line and raced the other way to pay dirt to give the Sooners a 45-0 edge over the Jayhawks. It's painful to give this section a B+ on such a historic occasion, but Brown did muff a punt that KU recovered. Can't do that.
KU's offense is inept, but the Jayhawks were much-improved offensively a week ago against Oklahoma State after inserting redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Cummings into the lineup (See: 17 points in essentially one quarter of action last week). Against Oklahoma, nothing doing. Through three quarters of play Saturday, KU had mustered just 218 total yards on 62 plays. For the mathematically impaired or lazy, it equates to a measly 3.5 yards per play. Another Big 12 game in the books, and it is another week minus an offensive touchdown surrendered by OU's defensive starters. That makes three weeks in a row without giving up an offensive touchdown versus Texas Tech, Texas and Kansas. Incredible stuff. Also of note: For the third straight week, the Sooners forced three turnovers after having only forced one through the first three weeks of the season.
Senior Defensive Tackle Casey Walker's Fumble Return:A
Okay, okay. He didn't get into the end zone, sure. Still, give the big fella some props. Even though offensive and defensive linemen are constantly told to just fall on the football, Walker would have none of it. The Garland, Texas, native was the recipient of a Dayne Crist fumble after junior linebacker Tom Wort absolutely crushed Crist. The 309-pound Walker scooped up Crist's leftovers at the OU 27-yard-line nimbly, then followed a convoy of Sooner defenders racing 45 yards down to the KU 28-yard-line. Poor Walker. He came up one block shy of a spectacular fumble return touchdown off a scoop and score. Again, while Walker couldn't quite make it into the end zone, a solid A for Walker for his work scooping up that Crist fumble and immediately finding his blockers to flip the field for OU. The forced fumble by Wort and subsequent return by Walker killed a KU scoring drive and led to the Sooners' second touchdown of the evening as seven plays later redshirt sophomore quarterback Blake Bell bruised his way into the end zone making the score 17-0 in favor of OU.
College GameDay's Selection of Notre Dame-Oklahoma: A+
Excellent choice squad. Really, where else could the GameDay crew be next week? Still, it is nice to know that the trip is official. Some stats for your enjoyment: OU ranks third all-time in terms of total games played with the GameDay crew on hand. Next Saturday against Notre Dame will mark the Sooners' 28th appearance in a GameDay game, ranking No. 3 nationally behind Florida (35 appearances) and Ohio State (30 appearances). Overall, Oklahoma is 19-8 in GameDay games and 5-1 on Owen Field. OU's last appearance on GameDay was for the Red River Rivalry last year in Dallas. The last time "College GameDay" featured a Sooner home game? Simple stuff: 2008, when the crew was on hand to witness Oklahoma's 65-21 beatdown of then-No.2 Texas Tech.