NORMAN — A side-by-side picture of Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis, one week's postgame to the next, would have been quite the sight.
After the 10-point victory against Missouri, he was bitter, angry. And Saturday, following a 62-6 Sooners beatdown of Ball State at Memorial Stadium? The senior leader was jovial, in good spirits — a new man.
“We felt like we were 2-1” after the Missouri win, Lewis said. “To come out here and play like this, leading up to Texas, this is huge.”
Oh, right. Texas. It's officially Red River Rivalry week for the 4-0 Sooners and 4-0 Longhorns.
“Undefeated teams? Texas-OU?” Lewis said. “It can't get any bigger than that. They're trying to take off our heads. We're trying to take off theirs. It should be fun to watch.”
Even if UT week started in your household, oh, a week ago, the Sooners insisted it did not begin for them until 62-6 went final on the home scoreboard. They were not looking or thinking ahead, they said.
Texas did not appear to, either. It clobbered Iowa State on the road, scoring the first 34 points of the game in a 37-14 victory.
OU coach Bob Stoops said his locker room was actually somewhat subdued after its win, a 56-point win.
“We took care of business. We did what we needed to do,” Sooners guard Gabe Ikard said. “Once this game was over, our minds shifted to going to the Cotton Bowl next week. We know they played a really good game, and they've been playing well all year.”
The Sooners led just 10-6 early in the second quarter when Ball State went flat. Cardinals quarterback Keith Wenning, who had not thrown an interception in 130 attempts in the first four games of the year, was picked off by OU nickel back Tony Jefferson on three consecutive possessions. Jefferson had help, with tipped passes by linemen Frank Alexander and R.J. Washington.
The takeaways turned into three touchdowns, and the Sooners scored 28 points in a span of five minutes, 22 seconds in the second quarter. They outdid that in the early part of the second half, putting up 21 points in 68 seconds.
Ryan Broyles and Jaz Reynolds both caught long touchdowns from Landry Jones, who had 425 passing yards and five touchdowns. Lewis then stripped Wenning, and Tom Wort took in a 22-yard fumble recovery to make it a 53-point lead early in the third quarter.
Michael Hunnicutt's second field goal of the night made it 62-6 with 13:42 left in the game, allowing the backups to get in and run around.
Well, the Sooners did have one remaining starter: Lewis. Still dealing with the broken toe in his left foot, he said he needed more reps – even in the blowout of a MAC school.
Lewis has not been able to practice much, even though he has played in the past three games. He expects to fully return this week to practice, which should be a boost for a team that had its preparation abilities called into question after lackluster workouts in advance of Missouri.
Stoops upped the physicality of practices Monday and Tuesday, according to several players. The result was a much more fine-tuned effort Saturday.
“They were aware that their entire week the week before wasn't as good as it has been,” Stoops said. “They came out this week and really had a lot of energy and focus in how they wanted to play.”
One Sooner, Broyles – who set the Big 12 record for career receptions – did acknowledge Missouri and Ball State are “two different levels of opponents.”
Still, the offense scored 60 points for the first time since 2009 while piling up 655 yards. The defense, miffed by allowing 532 yards the week before, held the Cardinals (3-2) to two field goals and 214 yards.
“It's what we expected to happen,” Ikard said. “It's what we needed to do. We needed to come out and have a good showing.”