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OU football: Offense full speed ahead even without top receivers

OKLAHOMA FOOTBALL — Even without Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds, the Sooners are convinced they can at least outscore Iowa.
BY TRAVIS HANEY, Staff Writer, thaney@opubco.com Published: December 28, 2011

— With a few players missing, think Oklahoma's offense might gear down for Friday's Insight Bowl again Iowa? Think again.

The Sooners, down two of their top three receivers — including All-American Ryan Broyles — say they're full speed ahead for the final game of 2011. They're convinced they can at least outscore Iowa, which has put up 29 points a game to OU's 40, to get their 10th victory.

“I mean, we're going to play fast,” OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said Monday. “We're going to do what we do. Nothing really affects how we play. We're just going to keep on rolling the way we do.”

The fact is, though, that things haven't really rolled since Broyles' knee injury on Nov. 5.

Landry Jones and the offense started clicking late in the game at Baylor, but the effort in that loss was fairly hit-and-miss. With the wind howling against Iowa State the next week, running seemed to be a better plan — but OU still threw the ball 43 times in 43 mph gusts.

And then there was Bedlam.

In the first half, with the game still close, the Sooners repeatedly advanced into Oklahoma State territory. But penalties, turnovers and mistakes (drops, primarily) made moot those scoring chances, and OU wound up with just 10 points in the lopsided loss.

The touchdown came in the final 2 1/2 minutes, on Blake Bell's only play of the game in the Belldozer package.

It wasn't a banner night for an offense that still wound up fourth in the country in yards and passing yards through the regular season.

“It was frustrating getting down there and not getting points,” running back Roy Finch said. “We know we're an explosive offense and we can move the ball on pretty much any defense. When we get down there, we have to be more focused.”

Those explosive plays have been missing, though, without Broyles and Jaz Reynolds.

Overall, the Sooners admitted it was a Bizarro World season for the offense.

In August, the conversation was about who from the deep pool of running backs would get carries. In December, it's a matter of who is left — either healthy or even on the team. Dom Whaley was lost to an ankle injury. Jonathon Miller, Jermie Calhoun and Brandon Williams have been granted their releases to transfer.

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