Nobody will call Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops’ a conservative coach any time soon.
Stoops made sure of that Saturday when he called for a fake punt on fourth-and-10 from the Sooners’ 31 against Alabama. The Sooners, leading 13-10, converted when punter Blake Ferguson hit Michael Thompson on a 22-yard pass play. On the next play, quarterback Jason White threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jones, and Oklahoma went on to win 20-13.
Missouri coach Gary Pinkel knows all too well about Stoops’ willingness to run trick plays on special teams. Last season, Oklahoma’s fake field goal helped keep the Tigers from pulling off an upset at home. OU won 31-24 on Oct. 5.
“It was a gutsy call and a bold move,” Pinkel said. “That’s probably why they have a lot of the success that they do.”
Stoops played down the fake punt, pointing out that the Sooners led throughout the game.
“I don’t think I would call it if I didn’t feel the opportunity for it to be successful wasn’t great,” he said. “I think too much has been made of that. I find it unfortunate that so much is made of that one play, when here’s two great teams that battled it out all day.”
BANGED UP QUARTERBACKS: Kansas State’s Ell Roberson and Missouri’s Brad Smith, widely considered the top quarterbacks in the conference, were knocked out of Saturday’s games with injuries.
Roberson left midway through the second quarter holding his left wrist and did not return.
“I’m not certain when we will have him back,” coach Bill Snyder said. “We’re not going to play him this weekend. It’s not day-by-day.”
Snyder said Jeff Schwinn will start until Roberson comes back.
Smith left shortly before halftime after suffering a mild concussion. Pinkel wouldn’t divulge much about Smith’s condition Monday, but implied that he will be ready to start against Eastern Illinois on Saturday.
“I’m not gonna discuss injuries,” Pinkel said. “I will say we expect our lineup will be the same as it was a week ago.”
Coincidentally, Roberson and Smith are quarterbacks who like to get out of the pocket and run. Doing so makes things tough for opposing defenses but puts the quarterback in positions to be hit more often.
“I think it’s a great asset. But you do open yourself up to injury,” Pinkel said. “We recognize that that’s a concern, and that’s something we have to acknowledge.”
AWARDS: Oklahoma State’s Tatum Bell, Nebraska’s Demorrio Williams and Oklahoma’s Ferguson are the Big 12 Conference Players of the Week.
Bell, a running back, was voted Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 215 yards and three touchdowns in a 48-24 win against Wyoming. The big game should help Bell atone for a key fumble in the Cowboys’ 17-7 loss to Nebraska in the opener.
Oklahoma State coach Les Miles said it would take more than one game for Bell to make up for that fumble, though.
“Tatum had a big day, with 200-plus yards rushing. He ran extremely well,” Miles said. “But he’s gonna have to play a lot of good football before there’s any vindication there.”
Williams, a linebacker and the Defensive Player of the Week, helped the Cornhuskers to a 31-7 win against Utah State. He had nine tackles and his three sacks tied a school record for sacks by a linebacker. He also forced two fumbles and recovered one.
Ferguson, the Special Teams Player of the Week, averaged 48.6 yards on five punts against Alabama. He also completed a pass for 22 yards on the Sooners’ fake punt.
STACKED DECK: Five Big 12 teams are ranked and four others received votes in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday.
No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 6 Texas and No. 7 Kansas State stayed in the same spots as last week, and Colorado moved up seven spots to No. 17 and Nebraska moved up five spots to No. 18.
Missouri came in 27th with 67 votes, and Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State also received votes.