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The Road Warrior Report - Florida Atlantic Review - September 2, 2018

The Road Warrior Report - Florida Atlantic Review - September 2, 2018


NORMAN – The pundits said the Sooners would take a step back this year. After all, our offense lost the Heisman winner at QB, and our defense was awful last year. They figured we might face a fight from a Florida Atlantic team that was on a 10-game winning streak. Of course, these are the same people that figured we’d face a drop off in the backfield after Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine left, and the same people who keep ranking Texas in the preseason. While this was only one game, against an outmanned opponent, there wasn’t any evidence of any steps back in the Sooners’ 63-14 dismantling of the Owls yesterday on Owen Field.


Kyler Murray looked the part of QB1, going 9-11 for 209 yards and a pair of TDs in less than two quarters of play. Austin Kendall was 8-10 for 88 yards and a TD himself before leaving the game with an injury after plowing into an equipment cart on the FAU sideline in the second half. Rodney Anderson led the Sooner rushing attack with 100 yards on only five carries, with two TDs, including a 65-yarder. Trey Sermon added 69 yards on 9 carries and a TD, while Kennedy Brooks had 51 yards and a TD on only four carries.

Hollywood Brown led all receivers with 133 yards on 6 catches and a TD, while Lee Morris had a 65-yard catch for a TD and a blocked punt that went for a TD as well. Freshman walk-on Drake Stoops saw a lot of action in his first game, registering two catches for 16 yards and one big block, and drawing chants of “Stoooooops” from the crowd every time he touched the ball.


The numbers were nothing short of astonishing, even against a G5 team in the season opener. The Sooners tallied 650 yards of offense, and that was with the starters playing less than a half. More astonishing was that they scored 63 points . . . on 62 plays. A point a play will get the job done just about every time.

The game started inauspiciously for the Owls, behind Sooner transfer QB Chris Robison, as they registered a delay of game penalty on the first play of the season. Their opening possession moved to the Sooner 35 before a chop block penalty killed it, and they punted the Sooners to their own 26. Behind passes of 11 and 16 yards from Murray to Brown, the Sooners moved to the FAU 45. Murray then showed his wheels, literally running a circle around an FAU defender and scrambling almost the width of the field for a 15-yard gain. On the next play, Anderson took it in from 30 yards out, and it was 7-0 Sooners with 7:40 to go in the first quarter.


FAU went three and out, and on the ensuing punt, Morris took the ball off the punter’s foot before he could kick it. The ball skittered into the end zone, where Curtis Bolton fell on it for a TD and a 14-0 OU lead with 6:34 to play in the first quarter. It was the first TD off as blocked punt for the Sooners in 16 years, and was not unconnected to the arrival of one Shane Beamer on the coaching staff.

After another three and out by FAU, Murray hit Morris over the middle. He broke a tackle and scooted down the left sideline behind a block from CeeDee Lamb for a 65-yard TD and a 21-0 lead with 4:49 to play in the first quarter.

FAU was able to move as close as the Sooner 37 on the ensuing drive, but failed on a fourth and 11 try from there. The next Sooner drive was all Sermon, with the exception of a 26-yard pass from Murray to Brown. Sermon’s 17-yard TD run with only four seconds to play in the first quarter made it 28-0.

Another three and out, and the Sooners had it again on their own 26. Three plays later, Anderson took an option pitch left from Murray and took it down the sidelines for 65 yards. The TD made it 35-0 with 13:07 still to play in the first half. After yet another FAU three and out, the Sooners had their first empty possession of the day. They were able to move to the FAU 36 before the drive stalled, and Austin Seibert was wide left on a 53-yard field goal attempt.

FAU picked up a couple of first downs on their next possession, moving to the Sooner 36. They only went backwards from there, and punted the Sooners down to their 10. Five plays later, Murray hit Brown behind the defense for a 65-yard bomb on the little half-rollout play that became so familiar the last three years. The TD made it 42-0 with 4:17 to play and closed the scoring in the first half. The game had long been over, and this prompted most of the crowd to agree and vacate the premises. Fully 70% of the fans left at halftime, maybe more, and the vast majority did not return.

The Sooners played backups most of the second half on offense, and didn’t suffer any appreciable letup. The first team defense looked worlds better than last season, a few busts notwithstanding. Nickel back Bookie Radley-Hiles looked the part of his five-star billing, and appeared to be out to do some damage to whomever he found in his way. The whole unit seemed more aggressive, faster, and generally a completely different operation than last season. The FAU touchdowns came deep into garbage time against the backups – the starters gave up no points.

Next up, UCLA comes to Norman at noon next Saturday. The Bruins are one of the youngest teams in the country and, Chip Kelly or no, don’t look like they will be much of a test after dropping their opening game at home against Cincinnati last night. See you there. Hopefully it won’t be 7th level of Hades hot next Saturday.

Oh, and Texas is back. Back losing to Maryland.

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