The Norman Transcript

September 10, 2007

Voters take notice

John Shinn

• Sooners’ scoring spree has them up to No. 3

Starting the season 2-0 is nothing new to Oklahoma. Even back-to-back convincing victories doesn’t cause much of a ripple. But the two-game run the Sooners have put together to start this season is unequaled.

Saturday’s 51-13 romp over Miami coupled with the season-opening 79-10 destruction of North Texas is unmatched in OU coach Bob Stoops’ nine-season tenure.

The college football nation has taken notice.

The Sooners jumped two spots to No. 3 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 and have risen five spots since the preseason poll.

Winning the first two games by a combined 97 points is the cause. But Stoops said exploding out of the starting gate hasn’t stunned him.

Each of his teams, no matter how talented, have always gathered momentum throughout the season. The one taking the field in November was usually better than the one that played in September.

“I’ve always thought we have a chance to be a solid and really good team,” he said. “I always feel the year is about getting better as you go through it. It doesn’t matter where you start, you have to improve and get better and improve as you go through the year.”

So where does that put OU after two games?

“I feel like we’re on schedule or where I thought we’d be,” Stoops said.

“I think it says that we’re a team to beat,” safety D.J. Wolfe said. “You can’t take anything away from Miami, they played a good game. As a team, I think if we keep playing the way we’re playing I think that the sky is the limit.”

OU’s averaged 539.5 yards a game, while only allowing 193. The Sooner defense has scored as many touchdowns as it has allowed.

Quarterback Sam Bradford has completed 40 of 48 passes in his first two college games. The five touchdown passes he threw against the Hurricanes gave him eight for the season. He still hasn’t thrown an interception. His passing efficiency rating of 237.73 is gaudy by any standard.

How gaudy? Jason White won a Heisman Trophy in 2003 with a rating of 158.11.

Quarterback play was the big question surrounding the Sooners when the season began. Bradford doesn’t look like he’s holding anyone back.

“We’re doing a good job of trying to put him in positions, but bottom line, he’s still got to do it,” offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. “For the short period of time, I don’t know if it’s coincidental, because it’s only happened twice. But under fire, he’s been pretty good.”

But can the early-season focus be maintained.

The Sooners won’t play a ranked team until it heads to Dallas to face No. 6 Texas at the Cotton Bowl.

Next up is Utah State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Owen Field. Odds are the Aggies (0-2) won’t offer much of a challenge.

The Sooners will be overwhelming favorites in road games Sept. 21 at Tulsa and the Big 12 opener Sept. 29 at Colorado.

There’s a lot to be fired up about. But in the end, OU is just two games into a long season.

“The second you go thinking you’re on top of the world because you did this to Miami, is the second you get beat,” wide receiver Malcolm Kelly said. “We saw what happened to Michigan.”

John Shinn

366-3536

jshinn@normantranscript.com