NORMAN — Bob Stoops knew it was coming. Knew his Sooners really were who he and we originally thought they were.
Knew his Sooners would flood Florida State with crisp passes and chop-busting hits and fanatical effort. Knew his Sooners would do to the Seminoles what they've done to most every other infidel at Owen Field over his 12 OU seasons.
And Stoops dreaded it. "It's a rotten place to be," he said of brow-beating his little brother, FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, like they were back in that storied Youngstown bedroom, where rough--housing occasionally would leave Mark in need of stitches.
But Bob Stoops flew solo with that emotion. Everyone else in crimson Saturday was thrilled by Oklahoma's 47-17 rout, which restamped the Sooners as national-championship contenders.
"We had a chip on our shoulder," said defensive end Ronnell Lewis. "We knew we could play better."
A narrow victory (31-24) over Utah State a week ago had derailed OU optimism.
"A lot of people doubted us," linebacker Travis Lewis said. "A lot of people were quick to jump off the bandwagon."
The bandwagon got crowded early Saturday and was full by sundown.
You knew this wasn't Utah State six plays into the game. Swing pass, swing pass, swing pass. The Sooners seemed to be propping up Landry Jones like a mummy. Weekend at Landry's.
Then Jones dropped back and fired a pass over the middle to Ryan Broyles. Sharp pass, good catch, 16 yards. The Sooners scored touchdowns on the first four drives, covering 80, 80, 54 and 80 yards, and Jones — 1 1/2 quarters into the game — had completed 17 of 20 passes for 242 yards.
You knew this wasn't Utah State on Florida State's second possession, after quarterback Christian Ponder ran and passed the Seminoles to an opening-drive TD. On that second series, defensive ends Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander squeezed Ponder out of the pocket, and Alexander got the sack. Ponder would run free no more.
And you knew this wasn't Utah State — or any other game in Stoops' career — when he found no joy in his squad declaring its might.
Stoops said he appreciated the way OU played: "I felt we would play well. I wasn't worried about last week. Maybe everyone thought I was blowing smoke...
"But you just cannot separate blood. I just don't like it and I knew that going into the game, and I'm positive of it now after the game."
Mark Stoops — forbidden by new FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher from talking to the press — might eventually get the Seminole defense into gear. Until then, Florida State will get lit up like it has been for a few years now.
But the Seminole offense has been in high gear for awhile, and this Sooner defense did a number on Ponder and his veteran offensive line.
"We played like we're capable of playing," OU d-coordinator Brent Venables said. "Hopefully, some guys now understand what the standard is."
Bank on it. Game 2 of a season, especially with the spotlights glaring and the state and nation doubting, is much more telling than an opener.
The Sooners emptied the playbook, both offense and defense, against Florida State, and it was more than the usual suspects who shined.
On offense, DeMarco Murray and Ryan Broyles got all kinds of help from ballhandlers, and OU's line protected Jones well. On defense, the young guys — Jamell Fleming, Tom Wort, Tony Jefferson — were making as many plays as graybeards Travis Lewis, Beal and Quinton Carter.
Nobody ever admits to a statement game, but these Sooners made just that against Florida State, announcing to the nation their prowess. These Sooners did what Stoops' other great teams have done at Owen Field; send potential threats home without their supper.
This was 34-7 at intermission, Florida State's biggest halftime deficit in 25 years, and OU tight end Trent Ratterree kept glancing at the scoreboard, thinking, "Hey, this is us."
Stoops knew it all along, even if he knew he wouldn't like it.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.