ESPN analyst Matt Millen was surprised Oklahoma didn't rely more on Landry Jones' passing attack in the first half in managing only 89 yards of offense in the Insight Bowl.
“He has been the playmaker all season,” Millen said to start the third quarter. “You got to go with him.”
The Sooners seemingly took his advice on a 10-play, 64-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter. Jones completed 4 of 5 passes, including a 3-yard TD pass to tight end Trent Ratterree. The score ended a three-game touchdown drought for Jones, which play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough had harped on.
“This is the elusive touchdown pass, the first in four games for Jones,” McDonough said.
Millen and McDonough were well familiar with the Sooners in broadcasting their third game of the season. They also will broadcast their third OSU game Monday night in calling the Fiesta Bowl.
* ESPN's late broadcast of the game was delayed even more when an over-the-field SkyCam fell on the field late in the fourth quarter nearly hitting Hawkeyes star receiver Marvin McNutt. Play was held up for several minutes as the camera and wire were removed from the field.
“You might think it is a Soviet satellite coming out of the sky,” Millen said.
“Sorry folks, we didn't want it to happen,” McDonough said.
* Sideline reporter Heather Cox discussed rumors of Mike Stoops' possible return to the OU coaching staff, noting he had spent time in the coaching booth during the game. Earlier Cox was unsuccessful in getting injured wide receiver Ryan Broyles to say if he had any idea if his close friend Jones would return for his senior season. “No, mam,” he said.
* Jones was hammered in the first half on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jordan Bernstine, who was flagged for a personal foul. “That's what we're trying to get rid of at every level of football,” McDonough said. Later, Jones was shown on the sidelines showing off a chipped tooth from the hit. “I think he might be proud of that chipped chomper,” Millen said.
* McDonough was cracking up at the end of the telecast after audio problems cut off Cox's interview with OU coach Bob Stoops. “Obviously we lost the audio of Heather's interview. Apparently the cable was attached to the SkyCam.”
* At halftime, studio analysts Mark May and Lou Holtz argued about the Sooners' play. “I think that they came out very sluggish,” May said. “You only put up 89 yards in the first half. You are very fortunate to have good field position and you have the Belldozer (Blake Bell) at quarterback.” Holtz admitted it wasn't their greatest half ever but said, “In case you didn't notice, Oklahoma is winning 14-0.”
* After Bell's second touchdown run gave the Sooners a 14-0 lead, McDonough said, “He is a touchdown scoring machine for the Sooners.”
* The telecast included a report on the team's last meeting in 1979, including a photo of Stoops as a Hawkeye defensive back going after OU running back Billy Sims. “He has brought that same kind of intensity to the Oklahoma football team,” Millen said.