NORMAN - It was clear from the outset that Oklahoma sure wasn't looking ahead to next week's primetime battle against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as the Sooners orchestrated a masterful 52-7 win over Kansas Saturday.
Last season this was exactly the type of game that would signal trouble for the Sooners. In 2011, the Sooners lost at home to a below-average Texas Tech team a week before travelling to No. 8 Kansas State. Like it or not, the Sooners have developed a reputation for playing to the level of their foes, especially the ones on the lower-end of the spectrum.
That was not the case Saturday night as Oklahoma (5-1, 3-1) did whatever it wanted to do in dismantling the Jayhawks. After struggling to open the season (2-1 with a lackluster win against UTEP and a home loss to K-State), the Sooners are starting to look like they did when the made the national title game three times in seven years.
"We're starting to show some maturity in how we prepare regardless of who we're playing," head coach Bob Stoops said. "We've been showing it the last few weeks and I haven't felt yet that this group that (good preparation) hasn't been the case. They did a good job getting ready this week."
A return to a dominant defense is the biggest reason why the Sooners are playing great football. The Sooners haven't given up more than 370 yards in any game this season. This defense is exactly what Sooner fans have been clamoring for during the final seasons of former defensive coordinator Brent Venables' tenure. Fans were happy with the return of Mike Stoops, but few probably expected this turnaround.
The secondary in particular has been great. Tony Jefferson, MacArthur-product Javon Harris, Aaron Colvin and Demontre Hurst have all been exceptional this season. Texas Tech has the most passing yards against OU this season with 271, but that's well below its average of 369 yards per game.
Harris now has a team-high four interceptions on the season after pulling down two more Saturday night.
"I give (my interceptions) to the other guys, we pressured the quarterback and he threw it up and I just happened to be at the right place at the right time," Harris said. "I told the guys earlier that it's a no-fly zone and I'm going to stick with that. Anything in the air is going to get taken down and taken the other way."