NORMAN — Inevitably, Bob Stops wants to remind us that it is only one game.
He did it late Saturday night when he chose not to call his defense’s first shutout in 35 games “dramatic,” and he did it again Monday at his weekly press conference, unwilling to get ahead of matters at hand.
It makes perfect sense.
Geno Smith and Tavon Austin may be long gone, but it’s still the same program, West Virginia, coming into Norman on Saturday that rolled up 778 yards of total offense a year ago in Morgantown. And, in many ways, that Sooner victory was a greater sign of program slippage than losses to Kansas State and Notre Dame suffered earlier in the season.
Really, the it’s-only-one-game should be heartily endorsed.
Also, it only goes so far.
Because one game can only mean so much, sure, but set against other season openers — like last year’s 24-7 victory at UTEP, 2010’s underwhelming 31-24 decision over Utah State, 2009’s 14-13 Jerry’s World loss to BYU, 2006’s 24-17 win over Alabama-Birmingham; 2005’s 17-10 loss to TCU and even 2004’s 40-24 victory over Bowling Green, when the Falcons’ 24 points were more than everybody but Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Southern Cal scored against the Sooners that season — well, Saturday’s beatdown of Louisiana-Monroe looks pretty good.
For a moment, let us count some of the ways: 300 yards rushing, a quarterback who improved throughout the game, the shutout nobody saw coming and Mike Stoops calling it a “perfect day” for a defensive coach.
Though Bob Stoops may not agree with all of that, he had to agree one good game can be pretty meaningful.
“You start off in a good position so the players know the work we’ve done and attention to detail has paid off,” he said, before launching into the kinds of things he might tell his players.