Folks, Oklahoma looks different. And like a pow wow of goth kids in a tree house, “different is cool.”
Oklahoma runs the football, and the Sooners run the football with force, when they want, how they want, and when you know it’s coming.
Call it a coming out party for Samaje Perine, who went for 243 and 4 touchdowns on Saturday night against West Virginia, but also call it a coming out party for old school Oklahoma football, the type that wins in January when you need to win to get stuff that makes you legendary.
First, a round of applause for West Virginia.
For a program that had questions coming into this year about whether it was on the right track, through four games, the answer is clear: the Mountaineers play hard and can hang around with anyone for a period of time.
Just as it did against Alabama, Dana Holgorsen’s crew was a pain in the arse in the first half — the kind that makes you sit on a heating pad — and just ran out of gas in the second with a myriad of odd mistakes, turnovers, and just not enough defense to get off the field when it needed to.
But make no mistake, in terms of direction, WVU is headed in the right one. That doesn’t make anyone any happier with a loss, but it’s better than feeling like the end is nigh every week.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, did what it has failed to do so many times the last few years, and that’s win a football game against a team it should beat while ensconced in a title chase. What OU did was impressive in its bloodlessness.
Perine is the story, obviously, with a punishing running style the likes of which they haven’t seen in Norman since Adrian Peterson roamed the field. In Bob Stoops’ tenure, either realistically or imagined, the Sooners have often seemed too finesse-oriented and capable of being pushed around.
Now, they look again like the bullies. It’s easier to credit Perine, but the offensive line is part of that too.
Alex Ross set a defining and resilient tone for Oklahoma when he bolted to the end zone on the ensuing kickoff following a Mountaineer score. The play tied the score at 24 just before halftime, stabilizing the Sooners and giving them the mentality they needed to take control in the second half.
OU has all the looks of a team that might take this playoff thing all the way. Nasty running. The ability to bounce back quickly. A physical nature that makes putting games away something of second nature.
Oklahoma is for real, real, folks, and in a Big 12 that looks like it’s basically them and Baylor, the Sooners look like the safest pick for a CFB Playoff spot to date.