Oklahoma turned to Texas late Saturday night.
It didn’t take very long to figure out after the 62-6 victory over Ball State at Owen Field.
“I’m extremely excited,” Sooner quarterback Landry Jones said. “This is one of the bigger games of the season. Obviously, it’s a fun week for us. I think everybody is excited for that game and everybody is ready to go out there and start preparing for them.”
Preparation led to the dominant performance the Sooners, who fell to third in the Associated Press Top 25 Sunday, put forth against Ball State.
The Sooners never trailed and rolled off 52 unanswered points, starting midway through the second quarter. The defense that was highly criticized for not locking in a week earlier against Missouri held the Cardinals to just 214 total yards and forced four turnovers.
It was a different Sooner team that took the field Saturday night.
“I thought our guys played with better focus and discipline,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “They played physical and smart. They anticipated what was coming.”
A better week of practice should get the credit for the performance. It was the lesson OU took away from its Game 3 effort in a 38-28 victory over Missouri. The Sooners’ practices were not as sharp as they had been in the preseason and certainly not up to the level of what they were in the days leading up to the 23-13 win at Florida State.
“We just wanted to play in a good way and smart, the way we are capable of,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “I felt like we did in all parts of the game.”
It might have been a chore to get the Sooners (4-0) to do that for Ball State. They were nearly a 40-point favorite for a reason. That was obvious by what happened in the second and third quarters.
But it’s never been difficult to get players’ full attention when the Sooners’ eyes turn to Texas. Even after Saturday night’s performance, that’s what players were thinking about.
Coaches love the week leading up to Texas. There’s nothing else to think about when the next game on the schedule is at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Everyone wants to become better. No one wants to get embarrassed on the mega stage that comes with the Red River Rivalry.
“Overall, as coaches, we feel there’s things that can be much better, and the players realize that,” Stoops said. “The exciting part is, there’s a lot that’s good, but we can still do some things better. We are going to work on that this week.”
Saturday night, OU showed what it can do when it doesn’t short-change the work part of it. The Sooners did everything they needed to do against Ball State. Next up is the game every OU and Texas player talks about it.
“Everyone is excited for Texas week,” Jones said. “You can’t help but get exited to play those guys.”