NORMAN — Oklahoma is known for a fast-paced, dink-and-dunk offense. The Sooners' reputation is they'll rely on their running game, bubble screens and slant patterns.
But in a 62-6 romp over Ball State Saturday night at Memorial Stadium, the Sooners showed they're also capable of producing home-run plays.
“Everyone talks about our bubble game, but we've shown lately we're dropping back and throwing it deep down the field,” said quarterback Landry Jones. “Last week we had a lot of big plays. This week we had a lot of big plays by stretching the defense.”
The Sooners had four huge plays.
Ryan Broyles scored on a 64-yard catch. Jaz Reynolds had 56- and 62-yard receptions. Running back Roy Finch also had a 47-yard catch.
“It keeps us balanced,” said running back Dominique Whaley. “Defenses can't load the box and they can't drop everybody (into coverage). It confuses defenses. They don't know what to do.”
Broyles is best known for creating space, making cuts that “break ankles.”
But Broyles also has some speed. Broyles cut across the field to break free from a defender, then turned on the jets to race up the sideline for his second touchdown on a night he broke the Big 12 record for career receptions.
“The type of offense we run we try to use high percentage throws,” Broyles said. “But if teams try to start to take that away we can definitely go down the field. We have some of the best athletes in America. We can go deep, too.”
Playing sparingly the first two games, Reynolds has been given increased playing time because Trey Franks has been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules.
Reynolds finished with five catches for 141 yards after hauling in five catches for 93 yards against Missouri.
“I'm excited about Jaz, his maturity, taking advantage of the opportunity being given to him,” said offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “He's played extremely competitive, extremely strong, extremely fast for us the past couple of weeks. That's big for us offensively. ”
It must be noted two Ball State defensive busts contributed to two of the big plays.
On one of Reynolds' big catches, he was left unguarded. The Cardinals also failed to have a defender out in the flat which Finch turned a short outlet pass into a long gainer.
But OU has the speed to make defenses pay for mental mistakes.
The Sooners compiled a typical big game offensively (655 total yards). But it wasn't a typical game plan.
“I don't think we actually threw any bubbles tonight,” Heupel said. “We're trying to take advantage of what they give us. If you can continue to open the field vertically, it continues to open up things.
“We have to attack all areas. We have to be efficient in the run game. That sets up your play-action pass and the rest of your offense.”
There were so many big plays, Whaley's 109-yard, two-touchdown night, highlighted by a 25-yard touchdown run, barely makes highlight reels.
But that drives home the point the goal for any offense is to be balanced.
“Deep plays soften them up a little bit,” Jones said. “The way we're running the ball gives us the capability to throw down the field. You want to have it where the run game helps out the pass game and the pass game helps out the run game.”