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Sooners' weight-room work paid off vs. Florida State

by Michael Baldwin Modified: September 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm •  Published: September 18, 2011

Olivia Newton-John's hit song “Let's Get Physical” would have been appropriate in the weight room last summer during Oklahoma's offseason workouts.

Vowing to establish a presence in the trenches, the Sooners pounded out two first downs to close out a 23-13 win over Florida State on Saturday night in Tallahassee.

The game-clinching drive served two purposes.

It milked clock.

More importantly, the offensive line and running back Dominique Whaley set up Jimmy Stevens' 31-yard field goal to give the Sooners a two-possession lead with only 2:01 to play.

“They played with a lot of attitude on that drive,” said OU quarterback Landry Jones. “They played with a lot of toughness. That's what we need to close out games. Last year, we struggled a little in that situation.”

Running behind center Ben Habern and guards Gabe Ikard and Tyler Evans, Whaley was strong up the middle, driving to the 14-yard line.

“Short yardage and goal-line situations, being able to run the ball when we're running the clock out that was huge,” said co- offensive coordinator Jay Norvell. “That's what you have to do on the road in a hostile environment.”

A stadium of garnet-clad, tomahawk-chopping, chanting FSU fans made it critical for OU's offense to run the ball to minimize crowd noise.

“Ben Habern did a fabulous job, him and Landry communicating in all that noise,” Norvell said. “It's not an easy thing. When you're playing against good players and good coaches you have to be able to communicate. Ben did a fabulous job.”

OU was held to 310 total yards. The Sooners ran for only 111 yards but pounded out 32 yards on the field-goal drive when everyone in the stadium knew they would run the ball.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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