Sooners answer all questions in Fiesta romp


Thursday, May 26th 2011, 1:31 pm
By: News 9


Originally Published: Jan 2, 2011 8:24 AM CDT

Impressive win. Impressive season. Oklahoma 48-20 over UConn in the Fiesta Bowl.&#160;&#160;</P>Mission accomplished.</P>1-Shed the bad rep for not being able to play well on the road. <BR/>2-Shed the bad rep of not playing well in the 4th quarter. <BR/>And after tonight, shed No. 3-the bad for not winning BCS games.</P>Here&rsquo;s some in-game and post-game typing from your trusty reporter, born in Malvern, raised in Norman, residing in Edmond. </P>Boise and WVa saw the Sooners jog out of the gate and limp into the loser&rsquo;s locker room. Tonight, OU opened very fast and jumped out 7-0 then 14-0.</P>Landry Jones was on fire. His receivers were running crisp routes, making all the catches and good YAC yards. But en route to drive that would have put the game out of reach early and make it 21-0, Jones flinched. He threw what I call a &ldquo;hope&rdquo; pass over the middle where you can&rsquo;t throw &ldquo;hope&rdquo; passes. </P>Jones came back to hit two remarkable NFL third down throws but also missed Cam Kenney for an easy TD throw when he was five to eight yards clear of the safety. The pick and the missed TD drive. </P>At half, OU had ten more first downs than UConn, 170 more total yards and had zero penalties. Defensively they were solid, holding Jordan Todman to a yard per carry until he got out the gate toward the end of the half for 19. Still OU had done a good job on Todman holding him to a net 34 on 13 carries. </P>But the story of the half to me was OU&rsquo;s inability to run the football.&#160; 17-for-46 is not good enough when your pass offense has the defense on its heels looking out for more passes.&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160;&#160; </P>To open the second half, OU came out flat and went three and out on its first possession and gave UConn the ball back 65 yards from making it a three point game. Todman was getting off for 10, 9, and 4. DeMontre Hurst missed a hard intercept that would have been a pick six. But a couple of good plays in the secondary and questionable play calling saved the Sooners&rsquo; bacon and they got it back on their 20. </P>At 11:56 of the 3rd it&rsquo;s still a game. The momentum had switched to a team a football expert told an OU administrator had the better line but not the better skilled playersmy interpretation being that OU won&rsquo;t be elite until it can run the ball and get the down linemen it&rsquo;s had in the past. </P>The drive started with two pitiful runs. Then Jones hit two throws that decided the game. He stepped up in the pocket on third-an- nine and found Ryan Broyles when he threw across his body. Then Cameron Kenney got behind UConn&rsquo;s corner on a go route and Jones lofted a 59 yard catch and run resulting in a TD to extend the lead to 27-10. </P>So Jones had two bad throws costing OU 14 points. Then he popped right back up and hit two throws that, along with the pick six that would come on the next UConn possession by Jamelle Fleming, put OU&rsquo;s five-game BCS losing streak in the rear view mirror. By the way, did Fleming not see any of the BCS games where players were penalized for excessive celebration for very little celebration? He should&rsquo;ve drawn one for his working the Sooner crowd in the end zone. </P>But then..UConn&rsquo;s Robbie Frey took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards and the TD made it 34-17. How many is that in the past three years? Disgusts me so much I&rsquo;ll let you look it up. That&rsquo;s four this year alone. </P>So again it was time for the offense to step up. But once again it was run, run and third and long. Incompletion and a quick three-and-out. Have we said OU can&rsquo;t run when it needs to? They rack up big numbers when the game is out of reach and a defense gets worn out. Two of the first three third quarter possessions were three-and-outs against a very average defense.</P>As the game moved along in the third period, OU would continue to go three and outand folks, we&rsquo;re not talking against the old Chicago Bear&rsquo;s defense of Mike Ditka. This is a UConn defense that does not have a single defender on the first or second team all conference team. In the BIG EAST CONFERENCE, no less. </P>Ryan Broyles took off on a punt return jaunt but didn&rsquo;t secure the ball and his fumble at the UConn put new life in the Huskies.&#160; UConn had new life, especially when MLB Austin Box limped off hurt with 55 seconds left in thethird. Earlier, Ronnell Lewis had to be taken off on a stretcherstatus unknown, but information has come to me in the past that indicates he&rsquo;s got a problem that will limit his ability to play substantial minutes. </P>The third quarter ended with OU leading by two TDs34-20. But this stadium is still haunting to anyone playing or rooting for the Big Red. The Sooners begin the fourth after picking up a rare first down on a slant pass to Kenny Stills.</P>Back in fast mode to start the fourth, but nothing working. And the cry from the press box, &ldquo;where&rsquo;s Trey Millard?&rdquo; Run game can&rsquo;t be worse. He&rsquo;s too good to not be in the game. He&rsquo;s played a handful of plays, so he&rsquo;s not hurt as far as we know.</P>Landry Jones at this point had 424 passing yards to surpass his own bowl records for most yards in a bowl. But the game was not done. He&rsquo;d completed two huge third-and-five throws to keep alive a drive that could make it a 21 point game and finally salt it away39 yard pump and go to Kenny and a 19 yd slant to Franks. </P>The game-clincher came on an impossible catch and get down play from Jones to Broyles. A replay had everyone ooh-ing and ahh-ing as the third-and-five went for six. </P>10 plays, 88 yards in 3:25 seconds with Broyles catching the five-yard TD made it 41-28 with 7:49 to go. The offensive points scored for both teams stood at 34 to 6and ended that way. But UConn&rsquo;s kick return and pick six had kept them on life support until the drive that defined this game:</P>Broyles and Jones were the story of the night. They&rsquo;ve excelled two years in a row in bowls. Jones threw for over 400 in each and Broyles caught 13 balls in each. </P>FYIJust an opinion, but a couple of media buddies and I got the impression Broyles will declare for the draft (surprising because ESPN ran a crawl the past few days that had Broyles all the way down as the 59th pick). But I do get the feeling LB Travis Lewis will return. </P>Broyles had 262 all-purpose yardsa perfect ending to an extraordinary career if he so chooses. OU&rsquo;s only turnover came after he&rsquo;d returned a punt 57 yards. But it was inside UConn&rsquo;s twenty and didn&rsquo;t do any damage. </P>So after seeing skads of teams make skads of mistakes during the bowl season, OU not only had but one turnover, but it had but one penalty.&#160; ONE penalty for three yards. Think this team was prepared and disciplined? One penalty answers those questions. </P>&#160;OTHER POINTS AND STATS OF INPORTANCE<BR/><BR/>Landry Jones was sensational on third down. The throws he made were NFL quality.&#160; OU was an above average 7 of 15 on 3rd converting third downs. But it was the fact that the ones he converted were very important to keep drives going or to score touchdownsthe final one being the signature play of the game when a leaping Norman Tiger tap-danced the chalk (to be accurate, it was paint and not chalk).</P>Cam Kenney emerged late in the season to be a go-to caliber receiver. The springy senior had seven catches for 154 and the beautiful 59 yarder up the sideline for six. Frosh Kenny Stills was outstanding again with 8 for 73. He told he came out of the ball game because of a sprained ankle but that it was nothing serious. </P>The offensive line did a poor job or run blocking but kept the uni of Jones cleanno sacks, while OU&rsquo;s defense sacked Connecticut QB Zach Frazer thrice. </P>Last and leastat least in statureJimmy Stevens was perfect again. The Little Big Man from Heritage Hall finished off a perfect season on extra points, and hit two field goals, including one from 41-yards. </P>The future looks very bright. I&rsquo;ve said for months that I&rsquo;ll be surprised if Stoops doesn&rsquo;t have one of his next two teams into the BCS title game. We&rsquo;ll get into this tonight on the Blitz. But the key to how deep this team can go is on the shoulders of the guy who finished the season in a very strong fashion. Yes, Landry Jones proved again tonight that he might be more special than the demanding Sooner fans have felt. </P>The departed former OC Kevin Wilson was really good for Jones. But I believe Jones will benefit more greatly with Josh Heupel in charge. Josh told me tonight he tweaked a few things and no doubt the soft-spoken but sufficiently -confident southpaw will tweak a lot more between now and September. </P>And any tweaks the blonde bomber makes will have his experienced preacher-to-be in mind. Heupel and Jones will no doubt share the pulpit. Sermons will aid everyone on the offensive side. And if Broyles decides to stay and run blocking is found, the Sooners should roll.&#160;&#160;</P>And they all said, &ldquo;Amen.&rdquo;&#160;