LAWRENCE, Kan. – No, there aren’t many people that are going to be talking about Oklahoma’s 62-7 win against Kansas on Saturday afternoon.
It’s not a statement game. It’s not a game that is going to open the eyes of pollsters across the nation. Heading into the week, that was a given.
The Sooners came in as a 39-point favorite, which has been a problem before. OU’s recent history has taught us one thing – getting success is one thing and handling it is another.
OU did what it was supposed to do and sometimes that’s enough. It created its own energy. It found its edge during the week and took care of business just like it should have.
“I feel like we’re just putting things together,” senior wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. “Things are starting to gel. We’re just continuing to build each and every week. During practice guys are focused. That’s the main thing I see out of this group of guys.”
It started from the jump as quarterback Baker Mayfield found Shepard for 41 yards on the very first play from scrimmage. The first of many connections as Shepard ended his day with 11 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown.
Mayfield, who didn’t play most of the second half, had already put up quality numbers. He was 27-of-32 for 383 yards for four touchdowns. And most importantly, once again, no turnovers.
It was the start OU wanted but not the one it has produced in other games this season where it appeared the exact same thing could have been expected.
“That’s something we talked a lot about,” offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. “That was our challenge this week. One of the hardest things in sports is when you’ve had any kind of success even though we still have a long way to take this.
“We didn’t practice very well on Tuesday of last week, and we got into those guys a little bit. And to their credit, they responded the rest of the week and today.”
Five different players had a receiving touchdown and Samaje Perine added two more on the ground. It wasn’t a 427-yard performance like he did in his record-setting outing as a freshman vs. the Jayhawks last year, but it didn’t need to be.
With the offense rolling, the defense carried its weight as well. The Sooners produced five sacks, two fumbles and broke up four passes. Senior Charles Tapper was responsible for three of those sacks.
Seeing the way Texas Tech scored on a potent Oklahoma State defense all day Saturday might give OU fans reason to believe this defense has indeed turned the corner.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops likes the progress and knows it’s all about coming together on both sides of the ball.
“We’re helping each other get better,” Stoops said. “All these offenses are systematically similar in some way. It’s helped us get better on both sides of the line of scrimmage and both sides of the ball.
“We’re playing well as a team, and that’s what you really need to be successful in this league. I think our team really understands that we feed off each other, and it’s a good group to coach.”
Feeding off each other will be key once again heading into next week. Once again nobody is going to be circling the Sooners and their matchup vs. Iowa State and once again it’s going to be up to OU to keep the necessary motivation.