I mentioned before the game that
While it'd be fantastic to see something approaching a repeat of our 59-13 victory in Tucson in 2003, I'd be satisfied just knowing we can put on a decent running display against a well-coached defense (coming off what Stoops called their best effort during his tenure).
What we got was a 42 point victory, in which we ran the ball 38 times for 235 yards, balanced well by 223 through the air. Meanwhile we yielded only 36 yards rushing and 99 passing, outgaining the 'Cats in total 458-135. Go figure. The most amazing part of our rushing offense stats? We didn't have a single guy over 50. Other than that, my takeaways:
- The three turnovers in succession made me cringe, but I'm willing to cut a little bit of slack given that we were up 24-0 in a hurry and complacency is always difficult to avoid. That said, I can't say I'm not at least a little bit concerned that complacency may be a trait inherent to this team. The 21 point lead over Tennessee last year still burns bright in our memory and we can't hope for more dropped screen passes on the part of opposing running backs in order for our defense to keep delivering 3-and-outs.
- On the flip side, I don't know if this is the right word, but it's pretty exhilarating to see us turn three turnovers into 21 points. I'm cautiously optimistic that this type of execution carries over to our battles vs more legitimate programs.
- Odds are high that this time next week, folks outside Baton Rouge and Tucson (and Miami, I suppose) will know Jacob Hester's name. Hopefully between now and then the athletic department can work on getting him a new pic for the broadcast folks. That's one funky semi-smile. (I'd direct you to the media guide pic, but while it's similar it doesn't appear to be the same as the one ESPN was using. Maybe it is.)
- Say what we may about Justin Vincent's running these days - and yesterday's display was once again average at best - but it was great to see him involved on the forced fumble in kickoff coverage. He plays hard.
- Our redzone execution on offense continues to be spectacular, and much as I'm not a fan of streaks that carry over from one season to the next (other than wins, at least), we've come away with scores in the redzone something on the order of 38 consecutive times (other than ending last week's game at ULL's 5, which ended the "by the book" version of the streak). Meanwhile our defense's current 14 quarters without allowing a TD is pretty impressive by any standard.
- Mike Stoops is dirty, dirty, dirty.
- Lastly, given the multitude of concerns I had about this Les Miles-coached team coming into the season, I have to say that I really could not have asked for a better opening two games to start the season. The defense has been brilliant, we've put up 400 yards on the ground, Russell has been nearly flawless, and penalties have been manageable. Turnovers continue to be a concern, but again, I'm as confident as I could have possibly expected to be going into the Auburn game this week.
The new polls are out, and we're up two spots to 6th in the AP and up one to 7th in the Coaches Poll. Apparently the AP's collective wisdom dictates that we're better than Florida now, too.
Apparently we've been trying to schedule USC or UCLA for future regular season battles. While I have nothing against UCLA, an `SC tussle to open a season would be fan-freakin-tastic.