Sunday, September 23, 2012
Roundtable: Three thoughts on KSU-OU
By SoonerNation staff
After Oklahoma's game every week this season, the SoonerNation staff will look at the most impressive thing from the game, the biggest concern from the game and an interesting storyline moving forward.
What impressed me most: Tony Jefferson played like a warrior at free safety, finishing with a career-high 14 tackles. And he did it on a bum ankle. Jefferson was quick to anticipate Kansas State's quarterback run game, and helped keep Collin Klein at bay for most of the game.
Landry Jones threw for 298 yards and a touchdown vs. Kansas State but had a key second-half interception.
What concerned me most: Like at UTEP, the offense looked completely out of sync at times. The Sooners didn't run the ball with much efficiency, and Landry Jones struggled to develop a consistent rhythm with his receivers. The turnovers were killers, but even without them, this was hardly the same offense that put up 58 on Kansas State last season. If the Sooners don't figure things out offensively -- and quick -- they could be headed for a disastrous season with the likes of Texas, West Virginia and TCU still ahead on the schedule.
The most interesting storyline going forward: Can the Sooners keep their heads above water? A loss at either Texas Tech or against Texas would this season straight on the same disaster track that 2011 ended. Kansas State is good, but tougher games lie ahead.
- Jake Trotter
What impressed me most: Sterling Shepard continues to make a case that he should be a bigger part of the Sooners offense. The freshman had seven receptions for 108 yards and one touchdown in the loss. After showing toughness and playmaking ability against Florida A&M, Shepard started the game against the Wildcats and didn't disappoint, making plays when called upon. He should be a contributing member of OU's passing attack moving forward.
What concerned me most: I will keep saying it: Turnovers. The Sooners don't force them nor do they value the ball like a championship team. More important than the bad decision-making which lead to OU's turnovers against Kansas State, the Sooners don't force game-changing turnovers of their own. Even if the offense did a better job protecting the ball, the Sooners defense needs to get much better at creating opportunities for the offense.
The most interesting storyline going forward: How will Landry Jones handle the next two weeks? It won't be pretty as the OU quarterback takes the blame for the upset loss. Will he respond and prove he's still one of the nation's best quarterbacks? Or will he allow all the doubts and questions to negatively impact his production? Only time will tell.
- Brandon Chatmon
What impressed me most: Even before the touchdown catch, freshman receiver Sterling Shepard had an impressive night. With the touchdown catch, well, OU fans might have found their silver lining. Shepard showed the competitive fire that has characterized him throughout his high school career fighting for the end zone. On the other hand, he showed the "wow" factor when he hurdled a defender in the first half. He looked comfortable the entire game.
What concerned me most: The fight in the team. It never felt like there was a real sense of urgency. Despite the three turnovers and despite the incredibly off night from Landry Jones, the Sooners were one defensive stop away from having a chance to pull out the victory. The stop never came as Collin Klein sealed the deal for the Wildcats, and OU is left with so many unanswered questions and a bitter taste heading into the bye week.
The most interesting storyline going forward: The Sooners didn't show up against a ranked opponent at home. The lackluster starts have been a cause of concern for a while, but the line of thinking was it was just because of the inferior competition. But with the 15th-ranked Wildcats coming in, it still didn't look like OU was ready to play a full four quarters. And having home losses in back-to-back seasons is definitely a tough to pill to swallow for OU and its supporters.