OU's poor performance should leave Florida State licking its Tomahawk chops

Suddenly next Saturday's game with the Seminoles looks more like a mine field than a fun reunion of 2000 BCS title game foes.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: September 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm •  Published: September 4, 2010
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NORMAN — DeMarco Murray stretched for the first-down stick, then the Sooner Nation held its breath.

Want to know just how close Oklahoma's too-close-for-comfort opener against Utah State was?


The game — yes, the outcome — hinged on this fourth-down measurement in the third quarter.

Everyone knew it, too. As the chain gang made its way all the way across the Owen Field turf to the spot where Murray made his lunge, no one moved. As the officials stretched the chain toward the ball, no one breathed.

First down by the nose of the ball.

Two plays later, the Sooners scored. Two plays after that, they intercepted a pass that led to a field goal. That stretch swung the game.

Barely.

OU 31, Utah State 24.

An opening day that began with great optimism and championship hopes ended with a thud.

"I didn't feel like we played very well in a lot of areas," Sooner coach Bob Stoops said. "Lack of execution."

He looked worn down, and the season was all of four hours old.

"We've got a ton of work to do."

Better hop to it — Florida State is coming to town.

The Seminoles will be in Norman in less than a week, and what looked like a fun renewal of a storied rivalry suddenly seems like a mine field. If the Sooners play next week like they did this week, they're dead.

They know it, too.

"I'm not making any excuses," said Murray, one of the few bright spots for the Sooners. "We should've played a lot better than we did.

"I'm kind of shocked."

Landry Jones was below average. The Sooner quarterback missed receivers, threw it behind them, threw it over them, threw it in places that they couldn't possibly get to it. He looked no better than he did a year ago, and sometimes, he looked worse.

The same could be said of the Sooner offensive line. Sometimes better. Sometimes worse.

The offense did get big nights from Murray (a career-high 218 yards on 35 carries) and Ryan Broyles (142 yards on nine catches), but there's no way it can expect those two guys to carry such a big load all year.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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