CNHI Sports Writer
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and defensive coordinator Brent Venables both push for perfection. Anything less leaves a sour taste.
After Saturday night's 41-31 victory over Missouri, Stoops called out his team for the two turnovers that led to 14 points for the Tigers. He said this team wasn't playing up to its potential.
"We are out for more," Stoops said. "There are still some areas that we can do better in. We need to do a better job coaching and they need to do a better job listening and executing."
One would figure some of the comments would be directed at a defense that gave up a season-high 41 points and 418 total yards to the Tigers.
But that wasn't the case.
Neither Stoops or Venables used "dominant" to describe Saturday's performance, but "pleased" was used several times.
There's a reason why.
"The days of holding (a quarterback) to 12-of-35, if they've got a good system with a good quarterback and some decent skills, are long gone," Venables said.
That was evident against the Tigers.
Missouri's Chase Daniel threw for 361 yards, joining Tulsa's Paul Smith and Texas' Colt McCoy as quarterbacks who've eclipsed the 300-yard mark against the Sooners.
It's doubtful they'll be the last. Virtually every receiver in the Big 12 is capable of scoring any time they touch the ball. Quarterbacks who can get them the ball are plentiful.
That combination has forced defenses to reassess their goals.
"Just the way teams are throwing the ball makes it more difficult," Stoops said.
Missouri put it in the air a season-high 49 times against the Sooners and averaged 7.4 yards per attempt. But OU was willing to live with the numbers.
"Your game plan, you've got to be patient," Venables said. "You can't sit there and expect you're going to stop everything they do. They're going to make some plays. But you've got to be opportunistic, you've got to make plays, they can't get comfortable, you've got to keep them out of rhythm, you've got to get turnovers."
The reason why the Sooners jumped two spots in the latest Associated Press Top 25 to No. 4 and came in at No. 5 in the first Bowl Championship Series standings is the pressure they put on Daniel and the four turnovers they forced.
Daniel was sacked three times and pressured throughout the night.
D.J. Wolfe, Reggie Smith and Nic Harris all intercepted passes. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton had a fumble return for a touchdown to go along with 18 tackles.
Those turnovers led to 24 of the Sooners' points.
Well, 165 yards of it came on two drives. Missouri's 85-yard drive right before halftime resulted in a field goal. The 10-play 80-yard march at the end of the game didn't bother the Sooners one bit.
The first-half drive was disappointing. If OU cornerback Marcus Walker could have tackled Will Franklin inbounds, the Tigers wouldn't have had time to kick the field goal.
The Tigers' last touchdown was conceded as long as they were willing to take 10 plays to do it.
"What we wanted to have happened, outside of scoring the actual touchdown, and that's use 2 minutes and 36 seconds on the clock to move the ball down the field," Venables said. "You didn't want to give up a quick strike and give 'em the ball right back and let 'em onside kick and get the ball back again with a bunch of time on the clock. So that was mission-accomplished."
Take those two drives away, and it looks like a lot better night for the Sooners. At least that's the way they're looking at it.
Those opinions will likely change over the next two games.
OU's next three opponents -- Iowa State Saturday, Texas A--M Nov. 3 and Baylor Nov. 10 -- are the 12th, ninth and 11th lowest-scoring teams in the conference. None have quarterbacks on par with Daniel or receivers capable of inflicting the damage Missouri's did against the Sooners.
If they throw up 400 yards and 30 points, it's doubtful anyone will be pleased.
CNHI Sports Writer
This Week's Circulars
Oscar Dale Lane, 87, passed from this life at his home in Norman, Oklahoma. Oscar was born, raised and lived most of his life in Norman. He left for a time to serve his country in the Korean War with The United States Army. Upon his return, he began his career as an aircraft electrician with…
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