MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As Mike Stoops stepped to the postgame podium Saturday night, someone laid a stat sheet in front of him.
“Do I have to look at them?” the Oklahoma defensive coordinator asked.
“I don't want to see them.”
Following the Sooners' nail-biting, 50-49 win at West Virginia, which racked up 778 total offensive yards — the most ever against Oklahoma — who could blame him?
After all, Stoops' highly acclaimed return to Norman came with the expected abolition of Sooner defensive showings precisely like the one Saturday on Mountaineer Field.
“They had a great plan and we didn't make great adjustments,” Stoops said. “Football is about making adjustments and we didn't make any good ones.”
West Virginia senior Tavon Austin caught the Sooners completely off guard Saturday, when he played a new position, had a historic individual night and made it look easy.
Usually a wide receiver, Austin regularly lined up in the backfield and finished with 21 carries for a stunning 344 rushing yards.
Austin's 572 all-purpose yards — which include 82 receiving and 146 on kick returns — were six short of the NCAA's single-game record.
Four Mountaineer touchdown drives went 90 or more yards.
OU's narrow win at West Virginia came a week after Baylor gashed the Sooners for 252 rushing yards in OU's closer-than-expected home win.
In the consecutive games, Oklahoma's defense regularly featured personnel groups with seven-man secondaries and no linebackers; the sets were designed to limit Baylor's and West Virginia's high-powered passing offenses.
Even facing extra defensive backs, though, Geno Smith connected four times with Stedman Bailey for touchdowns through the air.
Still, pessimism about OU's defense was joined Saturday by optimism; the Sooners have new life in the Big 12 title race after Kansas State's loss at Baylor.
But even if it doesn't win the conference, Oklahoma remains in decent shape for a possible BCS at-large berth.
That can only happen if the Sooners win their final two regular-season games, starting with Bedlam next Saturday in Norman.
Defending Big 12 champion Oklahoma State lost star signal caller Brandon Weeden, but today has three savvy quarterbacks.
Wes Lunt? J.W. Walsh? Clint Chelf? Take your pick; each is capable of excellence when leading the Cowboy offense, which ranks third nationally in both scoring and total offense.
And don't forget Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith; the running backs totaled 151 and 119 yards on the ground, respectively, and two touchdowns apiece in OSU's 44-10 Bedlam shellacking last year.
“It's two weeks in a row we've been exposed by high-powered offenses,” said OU senior defensive lineman David King. “It's all out there on tape now. OSU is going to come out here and try to expose us again for a third week.”
Stoops expressed disappointment in himself Saturday before quickly adding, “I'm no martyr; believe me.
“Just have to come up with better stuff. That starts with us a staff. ... Not a very well-coached game tonight.”