Oklahoma has had troubles on third down. Offensively can’t stay on the field. Defensively can’t get off the field. And though there were still a couple of glaring head-shaking moments for OU, the Sooners fared much better in their 59-14 win at Iowa State.
OU was a solid 6-of-12 on third down but 0-2 on fourth down. The defense, though, is where the improvement was seen. Iowa State was only able to go 6-of-19 on third down and OU stopped both of Iowa State’s fourth down conversion attempts.
It makes the game a lot easier when able to execute on third downs. OU was still stuffed on back-to-back plays featuring a third and fourth and short. And OU did allow a third-and-20 to be converted that later turned into a touchdown so it wasn’t perfect.
But after so many issues in October, OU got November going the best possible way.
Shepard’s injury shouldn’t be a factor
OU fans were holding their breath when Sterling Shepard was carted away after the first OU play from scrimmage. The junior wide receiver snagged a 46-yard reception and strained his groin.
Being carted away made it seem like it was going to be something incredibly serious, but Bob Stoops said after the game Shepard could have played. By the time Shepard returned to the sideline, OU was up two scores and didn’t feel the need to bring him back in.
All that’s going to hurt is Shepard’s stat line because he desperately needed another week. He talked during the week about how sore and hurt he is right now following landing on the camera lens and injuring his ribs two weeks ago.
Shepard remained on OU’s sideline throughout the game Saturday and seemed to be in high spirits, and there’s no doubt he’ll be ready to roll against Baylor.
The same should be said for Keith Ford, who although was dressed, didn’t see action Saturday.
OU with the early kick once again
Some seasons just work out that way. This is the year of the 11 a.m. kickoff for OU. The Big 12 announced the Sooners and Baylor will be at 11 a.m. CST on Saturday despite the likelihood of both being ranked in the top 15.
This is OU’s fourth consecutive 11 a.m. kick and fifth of the season. The two spots open for this week were 11 a.m. on FS1 and 6:30 on FOX. It was between OU-Baylor and Kansas State-TCU for those slots.
As soon as TCU won a thriller at West Virginia and KSU handled its business against Oklahoma State, the writing was on the wall for the Sooners. Both the Horned Frogs and Wildcats will be ranked in the top 10 when the playoff poll comes out Tuesday.
Hunnicutt bounces back
You never want to settle for field goals, but you had to think Bob Stoops was looking to give kicker Michael Hunnicutt a shot at a nice one.
Didn’t make it easy for him. Forty-four yards and into the wind in the third quarter, but Hunnicutt drilled it to give OU a 38-7 lead.
There’s no explanation for what happened with Hunnicutt against KSU when he missed two field goals and had an extra point blocked. None at all, but it was clear Hunnicutt wanted to move on and showed his mental toughness by draining his longest kick of the season.
Quick, Young provide boost
Quick, a true freshman, led OU with eight catches for 56 yards. That’s the good, but he also dropped three passes and two of them would have been for some big-time yardage.
Young, who replaced Shepard and had his spot taken away by Quick two weeks ago, showed that competitive fire Norvell was looking for. Young had two catches for 26 yards and his first touchdown.
It’s obvious OU needs Quick to become a bigger part of the offense, but it will be interesting how long the Sooners roll with him if the drops continue to happen. He’s a big play waiting to happen so it’s a tough balance.
Nothing more to it. OU rushed for 510 yards on 59 carries. Let that sink in. That’s 8.6 yards per carry with five rushing touchdowns. Thought last year’s 405-yard rushing performance was impressive, but Saturday was something to see and an incredible day for OU’s offensive line and blockers.