Image by Alonzo Adams of Associated Press
The Oklahoma Sooners hold on to win Bedlam over in-state rival, Oklahoma State, 28-13. Here is what I thought about the units for the Sooners in this one.
QB – If games were over after the first fifteen minutes of football, it’s quite obvious to anyone who witnessed that torching that Dillon Gabriel would have received a well-deserved A, at minimum. But that’s not how football works and once the Sooners & Cowboys began switching ends of the field, things turned in favor of the Pokes. Gabriel finished the game with a stat line that read 20 of 40 for two touchdowns and one interception. However, at one point in the second half, he had missed on 11 straight throws. While the Sooners did hold on, Gabriel certainly felt like he was not doing them any favors.
RB/HB/TE – While Marcus Major did see a handful of snaps, Eric Gray and Jovantae Barnes continued to be the mainstays in the backfield. Gray did not break the century mark in this one but it was not for lack of effort. Early on there was grass to be had but as the game evolved, those run lanes got smaller and smaller. Gray finished the night with 20 carries for 90 yards, while Barnes carried the rock six times for 60 yards, posting a YPC of 9.8. Key runs were had late in the game but it was not quite enough when the Sooners had the opportunity to ice the game. Willis had a couple key catches in the game but an early fumble really dampened the Sooners’ chances of stretching the lead earlier when the momentum was there.
OL – As with each position group before this, it was a tale of the first fifteen minutes against the rest of the game. The protection felt solid early on as creative scheme (that fake-bubble to Farooq) and a violent demeanor helped stretch the Sooners’ lead to 28-0. However, a costly penalty by Harrison, and an interior that continues to underwhelm, leads to the grade not being what it could have been.
WR – Oklahoma had as strong of a start as one could hope for and it was due, in large part, to players like Mims, Farooq, and Stoops making incredible plays. Speaking of Stoops, he showed out in what could be his final home game as a Sooner by stretching to the moon to secure the ball on a deep shot from Gabriel. However, once the Sooners put 28-0 on the scoreboard, things shifted in favor of the Cowboy’s defense. Stoops hauled in six grabs and a long touchdown from Gabriel while Mims added another five for 68 yards. Farooq began the game strong but multiple drops down the stretch contributed to stalled drives. With that being said, this group recevies…
DL/DE – This felt a lot closer to the group that laced it up in Lincoln to finish their non-conference slate. Defensive Coordinator, Ted Roof, and Head Coach, Brent Venables, schemed up a number of different fronts, including the infamous 30, which created quite a bit of havoc for the Cowboys. In this matchup, it felt like the Sooners chose to stand up their ends quite a bit more and you even saw a few snaps where R. Mason-Thomas was head up on a slot before racing out to cover the flats. Overall, the pressure was consistent enough to create six sacks and also limit the Cowboys to 103 yards on the ground.
LB’s – While there were certainly moments of, “what are you thinking?”, this felt like a positive step in the development of this group. As we’ve seen all year, Ugwoegbu can cause havoc when he gets down hill and isn’t forced to work in space. Stutsman, finishing second in tackles with nine, still had a few misses but with White’s interception to help seal the victory when Cowboys got close, I believe the grade should be relatively favorable to this group.
Secondary – This game was one of the strangest in recent memory. The Sooners jump out to a commanding lead and then proceed to be outscored 13-0. It could have been enough to result in a loss if it wasn’t for timely interceptions, tackles short of the line to gain, and PBU’s that stalled the Cowboy drives. In a game that saw Spencer Sanders throw 67 passes (yes, that’s not a typo), I felt this was one of the more disciplined performances by the secondary this season. They tackled well in space and close the distance on a number of throws. Even on the 4th and 5 to seal the win, you saw Bowman and Broiles playing great two-man coverage as Sanders try to force the throw. Overall, this felt like a Sooner victory for the team and a bigger one for the defense as a whole. The secondary receives a…
Special Teams – Michael Turk. Period.