Sooners edge Cyclones in Ames, Eye Biggest Conference Test Yet In Baylor
On Thursday, the Boomer Boys took on the Clonies on a short-week of prep, and managed to walk away with a rather pedestrian 34-24 victory. The offense still managed to put up a decent number of points and yards, but the Iowa St. D slowed down the Sooners much more than any team has since Ohio St. The lack of a true running back most definitely hurt the attack, as well as some protection issues involving both the offensive line and the backs.
Even though we all would have liked to have seen more points on the scoreboard, you gotta give credit where credit is due! A couple of guys deserve some BIG TIME PROPS for stepping up on the offensive side of the football! Obviously this starts with Dimitri Flowers, who was relied upon as our primary ballcarrier despite having ZERO CAREER CARRIES prior to this game. Unbelievable performance by Meeches Peaches! It was highly publicized that Dimitri had to replace Joe/Samaje at the tailback, but what no one seemed to ask was “Who replaced Dimitri at fullback?” The answer to that would be Connor Knight! Con played by far the most offensive snaps of his career, and he did it as a blocking fullback. This guy showed up on campus five years ago as a 210 lb receiving tight end that couldn’t block worth a lick, and now he’s out there in the backfield as a 250 lb blocking machine! I love it!
Defensively, though we did give up some frustrating big plays, there were some definite positives! Over these last 3 games, we have gotten a ton of production from fresh faces! Du’vonta Lampkin and Kenneth Mann have taken the first snaps of their career, and have done some good things for us. Caleb Kelly has continued to see his role increase, and his future has greatness written all over it.
For Sooner fans, it was a frustrating game to watch because of some blown coverages, missed tackles, and surrendered third downs. But, incredibly enough, when you look at the stat sheet, we actually held Iowa St below 300 yards of offense and well below their season average, which is impressive. Doing so with so many injuries and a short week of rest/prep is doubly impressive!
Now onto Baylor.
With the Bears stumbling into Norman after back to back embarrassing losses, it is tempting to go ahead and chalk this one up as a W mentally and start looking forward to the Showdown in Morgantown that looms large.
Let me do my best Lee Corso impersonation and say “NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND!”
The Bears pose a significant threat to the Sooners.
Over the past several years, these guys have proved time and time again that they can score, and that particularly they can score on us. Their offensive style is what concerns me most. People tend to think that they are similar to Texas Tech. NOT AT ALL! Extremely different styles of offense. Baylor has a very physical run game, and they want to be a run-first team. The use the run game to set up their deep shots via play-action passes. Baylor throws more deep balls than anyone in the country, and that is something that we have had trouble defending this year. The vast majority of their passes are off of some sort of run-action, with 6 or 7 people in the protection. Because they don’t throw drop back passes, getting pressure is very difficult.
With our run defense being the strength of the unit by far, why am I concerned about Baylor’s rushing attack? It’s simple…. DEPTH. We are so incredibly thin up front, and I am concerned about them wearing us down. I do not currently know the projections of who is supposed to be cleared to play, but I know that if Dimon, Walker, Bledsoe, and Romar are all out, with Obo being a little dinged up and Jordan Wade playing 80% of the game, we are going to get worn out by the fourth quarter. If we can stuff the run and make them one dimensional, I think we will limit their offense enough to win. If not, it could be a barn burner.
On the other side of the ball, we should roll. They are not nearly as good on defense as they have been, and the talent drop off is extremely noticeable. They take a lot of risks with some exotic slanting techniques, and if they don’t get home, the consequences are severe. If we have both Joe and Samaje back, I expect a 50-piece. Even if we only have one, I still expect us to score more than enough points to win.
Big 12 Buzz
I think I picked every single game wrong this week. But here’s what I learned.
TCU is an enigma
One week that can’t put up any points against a notoriously poor Tech defense, then the next week then blow the brakes off of Baylor to the tune of 62 points. They may be the spoiler when they head to Stilly soon.
Okie St wins again
This game went about how I expected, but I thought Snyder’s Cats could limit the Fightin’ Mulleteers to one or two less scores. Mason Rudolph is playing the best football of his career. Crazy thought: If the Central Michigan fiasco is correctly called, then the Cowboys would probably be in the top 8 of the CFP rankings at this point. Wow. Will the Committee take into account the admitted officiating blunders of that game?
Texas MIGHT be getting better on defense
At the beginning of the year, I thought Texas looked good. But then we all collectively realized that we were very wrong, and the defense was the biggest issue. I was outspokenly critical of both their scheme and personnel decisions, and privately I was even more scathing. These last few games, they have actually played….. decent defense. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but they kept Baylor and Tech both in the 30’s. Don’t get me wrong, they are still pretty bad. But they are better.
….. Nothing to see here!
I spent my weekend in Los Angeles, CA, enjoying the gameday life of a USC Trojan! While the city is a bit crowded and dirty for my liking, I did very much enjoy the fan experience. USC boasts a variety of neat traditions, and the atmosphere is palpably prestigious and dignified. The Coliseum, though very old, is a very unique venue. It feels as if you are walking into the Roman Coliseum itself. The problem is, they don’t fill it up. Not even close. I would say it was barely over half full at kickoff. When you’re located in a place like LA, the fanbase has plenty of other entertainment options when the team isn’t performing. Additionally, though the students go harrrrdddd at the tailgates leading up to kickoff, most of them don’t even attend the game.
From a stadium standpoint, the tradition of the Coliseum is awesome, but it is in serious need of a massive renovation. There are no permanent luxury seating locations for donors and guests, and no attractions that enhance the fan experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the historic feel of it, but I believe with some additions and renovation it could be one of the premier venues in all of sports. But, as is, its bare-bones and lagging behind the rest of the CFB Blue Bloods.
From a team standpoint, no one is talking about the Trojans! Since making a change at QB, they have taken off and are really playing some good football. Oregon looked very overmatched, and I expect a change there soon, but that doesn’t take away from USC’s performance. They took their lumps early, but they are now hitting their stride. I think they are fully capable of upsetting the Huskies in Seattle this week!
Death Valley Shutout
I know we’ve all been talking about it all year, but this Bama defense is unreal. LSU’s offense isn’t very good, but shutting out a top-tier team at home is an impressive feat nonetheless. I have seen nothing that makes me think Bama will be beaten this year.
Sometimes, I think that we are underestimate the impact quarterback play has on a game. Like I just mentioned, USC’s quarterback switch has propelled them back into the conversation in the PAC 12 South. Lamar Jackson is beating people by himself. Jalen Hurts has consistently been Bama’s top playmaker all year. Now, let’s look at the other side: when QB play goes bad. Saturday, Trevor Knight got hurt in the first half against Mississippi St. They struggled on offense, and lost to the 3-5 Bulldogs. In B1G country, Tommy Armstrong got knocked out of the game, and what was already going to be a tough challenge for the Huskers became a nightmare blowout. My point is: QB play can make all the difference. Deshaun Watson is now dealing with a surgery, and I am very intrigued about how that may impact the chase for the CFP title going forward.
November is upon us! That means it’s winning time!
Boomer Sooner! Beat Baylor