NORMAN — Bob Stoops knew it was coming. Knew his Sooners really were who he and we originally thought they were.
Knew his Sooners would flood Florida State with crisp passes and chop-busting hits and fanatical effort. Knew his Sooners would do to the Seminoles what they've done to most every other infidel at Owen Field over his 12 OU seasons.
And Stoops dreaded it. "It's a rotten place to be," he said of brow-beating his little brother, FSU defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, like they were back in that storied Youngstown bedroom, where rough--housing occasionally would leave Mark in need of stitches.
But Bob Stoops flew solo with that emotion. Everyone else in crimson Saturday was thrilled by Oklahoma's 47-17 rout, which restamped the Sooners as national-championship contenders.
"We had a chip on our shoulder," said defensive end Ronnell Lewis. "We knew we could play better."
A narrow victory (31-24) over Utah State a week ago had derailed OU optimism.
"A lot of people doubted us," linebacker Travis Lewis said. "A lot of people were quick to jump off the bandwagon."
The bandwagon got crowded early Saturday and was full by sundown.
You knew this wasn't Utah State six plays into the game. Swing pass, swing pass, swing pass. The Sooners seemed to be propping up Landry Jones like a mummy. Weekend at Landry's.
Then Jones dropped back and fired a pass over the middle to Ryan Broyles. Sharp pass, good catch, 16 yards. The Sooners scored touchdowns on the first four drives, covering 80, 80, 54 and 80 yards, and Jones — 1 1/2 quarters into the game — had completed 17 of 20 passes for 242 yards.
You knew this wasn't Utah State on Florida State's second possession, after quarterback Christian Ponder ran and passed the Seminoles to an opening-drive TD. On that second series, defensive ends Jeremy Beal and Frank Alexander squeezed Ponder out of the pocket, and Alexander got the sack. Ponder would run free no more.
And you knew this wasn't Utah State — or any other game in Stoops' career — when he found no joy in his squad declaring its might.
Stoops said he appreciated the way OU played: "I felt we would play well. I wasn't worried about last week. Maybe everyone thought I was blowing smoke...