The Sooners started the season No. 1 in the Associated Press and the coaches’ polls.
Late-season injuries punctured the Sooners. All-star wide receiver Ryan Broyles suffered a torn ACL that changed the face of OU’s offense. Since his injury, quarterback Landry Jones has zero TD passes and five interceptions. Against Oklahoma State, a 44-10 loss that was OU’s worst since losing to USC in the 2004 national title game, Jones logged 5.0 yards an attempt, third lowest of his three seasons as starter.
Jones is third in the nation in total offense with 357.2 yards a game. He has 28 TD passes and 14 INTs. He’s a junior and has started the better part of three years. He will have an NFL decision to make within the month. And, as you can see from the above photo, there is some sort of ‘stache thingie going on.
By the way, Jones’ 4,302 passing yards would be an Iowa season record by almost 500 yards.
Broyles, who had 1,157 yards in nine games and was the active FBS leader in receptions, was a devastating inside receiver and paired fantastically with Kenny Stills. OU hasn’t had the yards after catch since Broyles’ injury.
Running back Dominique Whaley suffered a gruesome broken ankle in week 7. He was on pace for 1,000 yards with 664 and 5.5 a carry. Now, it’s Roy Finch, a 5-7, 166-pounder who has 619 yards and 5.7 a carry. He has yet to log a 100-yard game this season. Yet, the Sooners average 4.64 yards a carry.
Backup QB Blake Bell is tough in short yardage, a formation called “BellDozer.” The 6-foot-6, 245-pounder scored 10 TDs out of this aptly named formation.
WR Jaz Reynolds also has had spleen issues.
No. 19 Oklahoma gave up only nine sacks this season, but three of those came against Okie State, which peppered Jones with blitzes. Two of those sacks came from non-defensive linemen and two caused fumbles.
The Sooners’ D has allowed 200-plus rushing yards in two games this season, including 278 against Okie State, the team that didn’t make it into the BCS title game. The 3.82 yards per carry is their second highest in the last five years and ranked fifth in the Big 12. (In comparison, Iowa’s defense, which Kirk Ferentz admitted hasn’t played the run well all season, allowed 3.74 through the regular season.)
DE Frank Alexander has been among the Big 12′s best defenders. He led the league with 8.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss. He had 51 tackles and an interception. Iowa has seen this from a Big 12 opponent before. Last year, Aldon Smith had similar mayhem numbers for Missouri. He had a quiet bowl performance and then went in the first round to the San Francisco 49ers.
DE Ronnell Lewis missed the final two games with a knee injury, but should return for the Insight Bowl.
The motivation thing? Well, Nebraska supposedly wasn’t motivated because it wasn’t playing for a division title. It’s a competition. Players are motivated to perform. But the Sooners also were headed to the Sugar Bowl until the Okie State thud.
Arizona is nice, but New Orleans would’ve been better in college football terms.
Here’s OU’s depth chart going into the Okie State game: