NORMAN, Okla. -- The gray skies opened during Oklahoma's first drive, and the record crowd here at Owen Field changed colors quicker than an audible at the line of scrimmage. Suddenly, a sea of crimson featured little spots of yellow thanks to fans who dealt with the rain by unveiling ponchos and covering up.
Too bad Miami couldn't do the same.
|Old foes, different directions: OU is soaring; The U is bumbling. (US Presswire)|
If not from the rain then certainly from the Sooners.
"Today wasn't a very good day for the University of Miami," said coach Randy Shannon. "When you give up too many big plays, you can't be successful."
Any hope Saturday's matchup of traditional powers would take us back to the glory days of the 1980s seems silly now. Turns out, a Boy George comeback was more likely, and anybody assigning blame should assign it to Miami.
Last time these schools met it was for the national title nearly 20 years ago.
Michael Jackson has changed less since.
And it's possible he's more marketable than the Hurricanes at this moment because, though the King of Pop's reputation is tarnished forever, the guy can still sing Billy Jean exactly like he did on Jan. 1, 1988. Sadly, Miami can no longer play football like it did back then, though it's worth noting the Hurricanes have perfected the moonwalk, which is to say they look incredibly smooth going backward, as they did repeatedly in Saturday's 51-13 loss at Oklahoma.
Yep, it was bad.
Even when it was close it was bad.
The 21-10 halftime margin wasn't an indication of an up-for-grabs game as much as it was merely a result of Oklahoma's generosity and somewhat uninspired effort early. The Sooners fumbled a ball on offense and snapped a ball over the punter's head on special teams. It was that type of stuff that prevented Oklahoma from pulling away in the opening quarters, but there was never any doubt it would pull away eventually.
"I really wasn't concerned," said Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford, and isn't it strange to hear a redshirt freshmen express his total lack of concern for playing against Miami's defense? "I knew once we got it rolling we'd be OK."
|47||at Florida St.||10/4/97|
The kid is nothing if not prophetic.
Oklahoma hung 30 on Miami in the second half behind Bradford's third, fourth and fifth touchdown passes of the game. He became only the second quarterback in history to toss five scores against Miami, and he did it with the type of protection that allowed the Hurricanes to accumulate just a single sack.
"It was unreal," Bradford said. "I hardly got touched out there."
Oh, how we long for the Warren Sapp era.
On this day it was more like pee-yew!
The Hurricanes should get back to winning soon, thanks to upcoming games against Florida International (home), Texas A&M (home), Duke (home) and North Carolina (away). But even if they are 5-1 heading into their Oct. 13 matchup against Georgia Tech, it won't necessarily be a sign of anything more than an agreeable schedule featuring a pair contests against the two worst teams in the ACC's Coastal Division.
But those cupcakes can't come soon enough, because when faced with a real opponent with real talent for the first time -- sorry, but Marshall doesn't qualify -- the Hurricanes looked more like a low-pressure storm, gaining just 139 total yards on 59 plays (average gain of 2.4 yards per play) while allowing 411 total yards on 73 plays (average gain of 5.6 yards per play).
Translation: Miami couldn't move on the Sooners or stop the Sooners from moving, and as the 85,357 fans exited Oklahoma Memorial Stadium -- those gray skies had earlier cleared up, by the way -- it was hard to believe that once upon a time the school with the orange pants once held the school with the crimson shirts to 14 points to win a national title.
"But that was 20 years ago," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "It makes for a good story, but that was a long time ago."
Indeed, it was.
And those damn Hurricanes sure haven't aged too well.