FSN analyst J.C. Pearson correctly noted the Oklahoma passing attack was not in sync in for much of the Sooners' season opener late Saturday night at UTEP.
“It's just not there, timing-wise or accuracy-wise, for OU,” he said in the first half. “They can't connect in the middle of the field.”
However, Landry Jones connected with Brannon Green for an 18-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to give the Sooners a 17-7 lead.
“Finally, Landry Jones throws it well,” said Pearson, a former NFL defensive back. “That's the best ball he's thrown tonight.”
The touchdown came after a questionable decision on a UTEP fake punt that came up short.
“I don't know if that was the right time,” Pearson said. “You're only down 10-7 and your defense is playing well.”
Pearson also was impressed with Jones' 74-yard touchdown strike to Kenny Stills in the first half.
“That takes a major league arm to be able to do that — throw the ball to the opposite sideline right on the money,” he said.
Pearson credited the Miners' special teams in blocking a punt and a field goal in giving the host team a boost in its early upset bid.
“Special teams, they've won it all night for UTEP,” Pearson said.
However, three missed field goals proved costly to UTEP. Coach Mike Price switched kickers for the third kick, which was much farther off target than the first two.
Play-by-play announcer Mike Morgan quipped, “If you're Mike Price, you don't have a third-string kicker, I don't believe.”
Overall, the FSN telecast left something to be desired. The announcers failed to explain a UTEP penalty — which apparently was an illegal block — that left the Miners deep in their territory, failed to give the yardage on Michael Hunnicutt's field goal for the Sooners and had incorrect yardage on OU's second touchdown drive.
Morgan also calls Triple-A baseball games for the Gwinnett (Ga.) Braves, but this was a national telecast. Sideline reporter Laura McKeeman, the Miss Florida beauty pageant winner, stood out for her looks, but not for her comments.
Although OU's television partnership with FSN has not been officially announced, the telecast included a few promos for Sooners Sports TV, which is expected to include OU programming blocks on Fox Sports Oklahoma and Fox Sports Southwest.
OSU's 84-0 victory over Savannah State had announcers Kevin Eschenfelder and N.D. Kalu searching for adjectives to describe the blowout.
Kalu, a former NFL defensive lineman, even had hope for a competitive game at the start. Of the Savannah State offense he said, “They are going to need each yard they can get to pull off an Appalachian State-type upset of Michigan.”
That hope quickly faded as the Cowboys compiled a 35-0 lead after the first quarter. Eschenfelder even lost count of the onslaught, calling it 28-0 at the quarter break.
At one point, Kalu took pity on Cowboys kicker Quinn Sharp's numerous extra points and kickoffs. “I hope they have a backup kicker because this guy's legs are going to get tired real quickly,” he said.
Interviewing OSU donor Boone Pickens at halftime, Eschenfelder even asked him if he wanted to come back later to bail him out. “If you want to come up in the fourth quarter, you can do the play-by-play,” he said.
Kalu defended the Cowboys on the question of the night: Why was OSU playing a dismal Savannah State team that had never played an FCS opponent. “They have five ranked opponents on their schedule. That's why I don't have a problem with them playing Savannah State,” he said.
*ABC's Brent Musburger during Alabama's surprising 41-14 rout of Michigan: “They send one starter after another to the NFL,” he said of the Crimson Tide. “They just reload.”
*ESPN's Todd Blackledge after Clemson held on for a 26-19 victory over Auburn: “Heck of a win for the Clemson Tigers. Heck of a win for the Atlantic Coast Conference.”