Explosive 3rd Quarter Powers OU past A&M.
Oklahoma beat Texas A&M 41-25, breaking a close game (OU lead 13-10 at the half) with a 28 point explosion in the 3rd quarter. For the second straight week however, the Sooners lost big when All-American receiver Ryan Broyles injured his knee in the 3rd quarter. Further tests revealed a torn ACL, bringing a glittering career to an abrupt end.
Even before the news regarding the severity of the injury broke, Broyles' tearful reaction on the sideline pretty much told you what you needed to know. Dominique Whaley, the team's leading rusher, was lost for the season when he suffered a fractured ankle on the game's first play against Kansas State.
All of the Sooners' work on offense can be summed up in the 3rd quarter, after a strong wind and a pair of Aggie miscues gave the team a short field.
It was another sluggish start though, as Landry Jones misfired his way to an 11/26 effort in the first half, but went 7 for 12 in the second half, connecting with Jaz Reynolds and Kenny Stills (31 yards and 39 yards respectively) for 2 scores in the 3rd quarter. His numbers would have looked a lot better had there not been some dropped passes too, so there's enough of the buck to pass around.
Roy Finch continues to prove himself as a capable stand-in for Whaley. He twisted and spun his way to 99 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, the most carries he's had this season (and probably in his OU career as well). If the Sooners can improve their run blocking schemes, then Finch will without doubt become a bigger factor in the game, helping shoulder some of the load on offense, especially now that the team has to make do without Broyles.
While the introduction of the "Belldozer" has helped produce the desired results, it's not too hard to tell that the coaches have fallen in love with that play a tad too much; but "if it ain't broke, why fix it?"
With all the weapons available for the Aggies, the Sooners' defensive unit did great to hold them to only 25 points. The Aggies first touchdown was the result of a broken play, while the remaining 15 points came when the Sooners had closed shop for the day.
The Aggies churned out 527 yards of offense, led by QB Ryan Tannehill's 379 yards through the air. However, he had 63 pass attempts, completing only 32 of them. The running game was held in check for the most part, even though Christine Michael had gained 88 yards on 17 carries before leaving the game with an injury. Still, Oklahoma was able to hold down the fort when it mattered most. Numbers don't lie, but they don't always tell the whole story either.
The Sooners' "sharks" were back to the predatory best, forcing 4 turnovers. While there wasn't much reward with the fumble recovery and interception in the first half, it was the 2 interceptions in the 3rd quarter that helped turn the game on its head; the offense cashed them in for 2 touchdowns to seize the game.
Coming off a loss to Texas Tech, the games against Kansas State and Texas A&M had the potential to "make or break" Oklahoma's season. The Sooners have come through just fine and are still in contention for a conference title, while the national title remains slightly distant but not out of discussion.
Oklahoma has a much needed weekend off before taking the road to face Baylor. They could really use the rest while they regroup and find a way to cope with their key losses on offense.