WICHITA, Kan. — Oklahoma improved to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in Big 12 Conference play with Saturday’s 34-19 win at Kansas.
I stopped in Wichita for the night, so here’s a look at our coverage for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com, followed by a few quick thoughts:
* My game story: Sooners’ gambles pay off in 34-19 win over Kansas
* Jenni Carlson’s column: Win on the road is great, but problems persist in Soonerville
* From Ryan Aber: Blake Bell says he’s ‘going in the right direction’
* Our OU notebook, with items on Torrea Peterson, injuries and defensive adjustments
* Q&A with OU receiver Lacoltan Bester, whose 49-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter helped shift momentum in the Sooners’ favor
* What they’re saying about Saturday’s game
* OU-TCU by the numbers
* Jenni Carlson’s OU report card
Other random thoughts, notes and observations:
* Offensive starters: QB Blake Bell; HB Brennan Clay; FB Trey Millard; WR Jalen Saunders; WR Durron Neal; WR Jalen Saunders; OT Tyrus Thompson; OG Bronson Irwin; C Gabe Ikard; OG Adam Shead; OT Daryl Williams.
* Defensive starters: DE Chuka Ndulue; DT Jordan Wade; DE Charles Tapper; DE P.L. Lindley; LB Eric Striker; LB Frank Shannon; LB Dominique Alexander; CB Aaron Colvin; FS Gabe Lynn; SS Quentin Hayes; CB Zack Zanchez.
* This was probably the most bizarre football game I’ve ever seen. Two blocked punts, a blocked extra point return for two points and three failed PATs?
* The score of this game was, at various points, 13-8, 15-13, 18-13, 25-13 and 25-19. Just weird to look at the scoreboard and see those numbers.
* Freshman Matt Dimon’s blocked punt in the second quarter was Oklahoma’s first blocked punt since Corey Nelson against Texas A&M in 2010.
* Receiver Durron Neal and defensive end P.L. Lindley both earned their first career starts Saturday.
* Lindley has seen a lot more playing time the last couple weeks. Last season, his then-position coach Bobby Jack Wright frequently talked him up in interviews as a guy to watch moving forward.
* Oklahoma looked really, really bad in the first quarter of this game. The offense was lethargic. The defense continually got gashed by Kansas’ running attack.
* Yes, the Sooners came back and won and, in doing so, showed some resiliency. But this doesn’t look like a very good football team right now.
* OU looks nothing — nothing — like the team that went into South Bend and comfortably handled Notre Dame less than a month ago.
* As it turns out, Corey Nelson and Jordan Phillips were pretty important pieces on this defense. Without them, the defense has struggled mightily against the run.
* Having said that, the OU defense did settle down and play well after the first quarter. Once they figured out how to stop the Kansas run game, they didn’t have too many problems defensively.
* Zack Sanchez and Dominique Alexander each dropped sure interceptions. Those are plays these young guys have got to make as the season rolls on. Against Kansas, you can get away with missing those opportunities. Against Texas Tech, Baylor or Oklahoma State? Those mistakes could be crippling.
* Like the entire OU team, Blake Bell looks nothing like the quarterback we saw go into South Bend and beat Notre Dame. Sometimes he takes too long to make decisions, some of his passes are off and sometimes he just looks frantic in the pocket. In his first two starts, he seemed so poised and under control. That hasn’t been the case over the past two weeks.
* Bell was 50-67 (74.6 percent) for 645 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions in his first two starts. In the last three games, he’s 47-82 (57.3 percent) for 416 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
* At least Bell (and Bester, I suppose) were able to get Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders more involved in the offense. Those two are arguably the team’s best playmakers when they have the ball; they just need to get it in their hands more often.
* Keith Ford looked pretty good on his three carries, picking up 19 yards, until his last touch ended in a fumble that Kansas recovered on its own 32-yard line. We didn’t see any more of the true freshman after that first-quarter mistake.
* Roy Finch got lots of touches late, finishing with seven carries and 53 yards. He’s really an electric, dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands.
* Brennan Clay only got six touches for 20 yards. I really don’t understand his lack of action the last two games, especially considering how well he played through the Sooners’ first five contests.
* Former Oklahoma receiver Justin McCay caught one pass for 10 yards in the first quarter for Kansas, but didn’t record any more receptions.
* Seriously, Lacoltan Bester’s 49-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard was the best-looking deep ball any Sooner has thrown all season long. Bester was a high-school and junior-college quarterback in Mississippi before switching to wide receiver.
* Bob Stoops on Bester’s throw: “Gosh, did he throw a great ball? I told him, gave him the game ball, and said he needed to give the quarterbacks some lessons. Just a beautiful pass.”
* Julian Wilson left the game early and didn’t return, and Adam Shead was injured in the second half and also didn’t return. Bob Stoops had no update on their conditions after the game ended.
* If Shead misses some time, expect Bronson Irwin to move to left tackle and Nila Kasitati to take over the right tackle spot. Kasitati started the first four games of the season over Irwin.
* Wilson is the Sooners’ starting nickelback. In his absence, I’d expect senior Kass Everett to see more playing time.
* Bob Stoops is now two wins from tying Barry Switzer’s all-time program record of 157 wins. The soonest Stoops could tie Switzer would be Thursday, Nov. 7 at Baylor, and the soonest he could break Switzer’s record would be Saturday, Nov. 16 against Iowa State at home.
PEEKING AHEAD TO THE NEXT GAME
Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) vs. Texas Tech (7-0, 4-0 Big 12)
When: 2:30 p.m., Saturday
Where: Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman
TV: KOKH-25 (Cox 12/HD 712, Dish 25, DirecTV 25, U-verse 25/1025)
Radio: KOKC-AM 1520, The Franchise-107.7 FM