The Norman Transcript

November 17, 2013

Despite big win over Iowa State, Sooners slide in AP poll

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma rolled to a 38-point victory over Iowa State Saturday, but it actually dropped in the BCS standings Sunday.

The Sooners (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) sank two spots to No. 20. It marks their lowest spot in the standings this season.

OU dipped one spot to No. 18 in the USA Today coaches poll, which represents one-third of the BCS standings formula.

It remained at No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25.

The Big 12, however, has two teams in the BCS standings top 10 — for now. Baylor moved up to No. 4, while Oklahoma State climbed to No. 10. Those teams will meet Saturday at Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.

The Big 12, however, is down to just three teams in the BCS standings. Texas exited after its loss to the Cowboys Saturday.

OU picks up two commitments: OU picked up two verbal commitments after weekend visits Sunday. Soonerscoop.com reported Woodland Hills (Calif.) Pierce Community College tight end Isaac Ijalana and Homewood (Ala.) High School defensive end Dwayne Orso both picked OU.

Rivals.com has Ijalana pegged as a three-star recruit. Orso is currently a two-star recruit.

Risk worth taking: OU’s win over Iowa State was spearheaded by Jalen Saunders’ 91-yard punt return for late in the first half. OU coach Bob Stoops took a gamble sending the punt return out with the ball at midfield and the Cyclones only needing six yards for a first down. So did Saunders. He said he wasn’t thinking about where he was when he caught the ball.

“At first, the coach usually tells me if it’s near the 10-yard line, fair catch it or let it go,” he said. “I took two steps back and I seen the guys, the defenders coming to chase me, they were 20 yards away and coming closer. I was just going to chance it. After that I seen a crease right after I caught it and I just took off.”

Halftime adjustments: OU’s offense kicked into gear, but so did its defense. The Cyclones’ six second-half drives ended with five punts and an interception.

“You know our coaches do a great job of making adjustments,” defensive Geneo Grissom said. “I just feel like we went out there and executed them that we were supposed to.”

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said he didn’t make a lot of changes at halftime.

“I just thought we executed better. We saw the plays, and we reacted better. They didn’t do anything really we hadn’t prepared for, but we just weren’t very sharp. I didn’t think we tackled very well. We just didn’t play with a lot of force. The whole first half was really uncomfortable,” he said. “I thought as the game went on, we got more engaged in the game and our whole positioning on the football improved. Our pressure improved on the quarterback.”

Running wild: OU rushed for 405 yards and averaged 9.2 yards per carry in Saturday’s win. Senior running backs Brennan Clay and Damien Williams, who were playing in the final home game, both averaged over 12.0 yards per carry.

“That’s what we came in today to do, to run the ball. The run game was working a little bit better,” Williams said. “It was just all about practice and what we did to get ready for this moment.”

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.