No. 4 Oklahoma and West Virginia gave us quite a game in Morgantown on Saturday night. The two Big 12 rivals combined for 88 points, including 48 in the first half, with the Sooners eventually winning, 45-33.
Some would call that a shootout.
But not Bob Stoops.
“I don’t know about that,” the Oklahoma head coach said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “The first half was a little tight, but not so much the second half.”
Indeed, the Sooners trailed 24-17 with just over a minute to go in the first half – and then they scored 28 of the next 31 points to take a 45-27 lead. Semaje Perine was responsible for 21 of those 28 points, finishing with 34 carries for 242 yards and four touchdowns.
By the way, Perine is a freshman – one whom Stoops calls “The Raging Bull.”
“We had hoped he’d be doing just what he’s doing,” Stoops said. “We got him going right away in two-a-days and working in the rotation with those other backs. He’s an incredibly bright young man, incredibly powerful – but has great vision, great quickness and the ability to break tackles. He’s doing really well and about what we had hoped he’d do.”
The same can be said for the defense – those 24 first-half points against West Virginina notwithstanding. Oklahoma is 16th in the country in points allowed (16.5 per game), and the defense looks as physical as any Stoops has had in Norman.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “We’re getting to where we want to be. We’re definitely stronger (and) more physical than where we were a year ago – really at every position.”
Stoops said it’s just been a matter of kids maturing from the age of 19 to the age of 21.
“They’re still growing, maturing, gaining weight, gaining strength,” Stoops said. “We’ve got more experienced guys back that have had more time in the weight room. That’s how it’s happened. And our strength staff does a great job.”
So does Stoops, who believes the Big 12 – and not the SEC – is the best conference in America. Not everyone might agree with that statement, but you have to give Stoops credit for not only talking the talk, but also walking the walk. Oklahoma beat Alabama convincingly in last year’s Sugar Bowl and walloped Tennessee, 34-10, on Sept. 13.
Stoops, however, was sad to see Kansas State lose a top-20 showdown with No. 5 Auburn last Thursday. The Wildcats had a couple of great chances to seize control of the game, but lost, 20-14.
“They played right with them,” Stoops said. “If they don’t miss a field goal or two, they got a chance to win the game. They didn’t look overwhelmed by any means. I thought they played a really good, strong football game.”
Oklahoma (4-0) hosts Kansas State (2-1), which fell to No. 25 with the loss, on Oct. 11 – one of three ranked teams that the Sooners play this season. They also get No. 7 Baylor (3-0) and No. 24 Oklahoma State (2-1) at home on Nov. 8 and Dec. 6, respectively.
Stoops said that the new College Football Playoff has not changed his mindset or approach at all this year.
“In the past, it was do all you can to be one of the two spots,” he said. “Now it’s be one of the four spots. It’s actually better.”
Doug Gottlieb also asked Stoops about one of his former players, Adrian Peterson, who has been indicted for child abuse. Peterson played at Oklahoma from 2004-06.
“I have not,” Stoops said, when asked if he had recently spoken to Peterson. “That’s not for me to talk about. I thought we were hear to talk about Oklahoma. That’s not for me to (discuss). I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion for me to speak about it.”
Oklahoma, which is off this week, next plays at TCU (2-0) on Oct. 4.