Oklahoma’s biggest non-conference test arrived in Norman last weekend, and while there are some things to nitpick, it was a big win in primetime with a host of talented recruits on campus. Nationally, the win also seems to place OU in the top four of almost every voice on TV and the Web.
Five sacks, 11 tackles for a loss. How do you identify one individual when it was a total defensive effort that led to the constant pressure on Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley and dominating the Volunteers running game for three quarters?
The last couple of years, the Sooner defense has not forced many turnovers or made as many “big plays” in the moment. The defense really shut down UT's last gasps in the second half: INT, INT, 4th down stop.
The first drive to start the second half
Again, flashes of 2008 in terms of pace and effectiveness.
Evans made back-to-back plays late in the game to stop a touchdown. First, it was Worley’s scramble. Then, on the next play, he deflected the pass leading to Julian Wilson’s 100-yard INT return.
Evans has been somewhat overlooked with all the other stars on defense, but his length and sideline-to-sideline speed gives OU a different look at LB. He made plays everywhere in space.
The "other" receivers
Durron Neal had a great game and has definitely rounded into shape as a great complement to Sterling Shepard at receiver. He’s showing more speed and acceleration as well. It's the kind of playmaking recruitniks saw in high school.
K.J. Young only made a couple of catches, but he was wide open all night long. He’s ready to be that solid third option. Once Trevor Knight starts seeing him, Young is going to hurt some teams.
Julian Wilson and Quentin Hayes
The two defensive back holdovers in new spots are playing fantastic so far. Wilson had a great
game at CB and Hayes is playing well at nickelback in his second season as a starter. Bigger tests are coming, but right now, the secondary has playmakers.
Best running back OU has right now. His injury hurts.
Trevor Knight’s first half
Knight's passing was excellent. He missed some open wideouts that forced OU to settle for field goals, but he had a very good half. Some excellent 3rd down pick-ups.
Offense in second half
OU had a great drive to start the second half. After that drive, the O kind of stalled out. The 4th down call at Tennessee's 35 was kind of bizarre. After that the Sooners got very conservative after finding themselves in some predictable 3rd-and-long situations.
Those three-and-outs plus the punt return fumble gave UT's defense needed rest. Alternatively, OU's defense was gassed.
When teams are crashing the OU running game, Bob Stoops and Josh Heupel have to let Knight loose in the zone read. Tennessee stopped respecting Knight running the ball, and he could have gashed them for 1st downs easily.
I realize that the coaches are trying to protect Knight's health, but it’s crippling the offense at times. There has to be a balance there.
Punt deflection off Steven Parker
Killed what would have been a bigger blowout.
This one route...
Last week against Tulsa, OU ran this short WR route that nearly got Neal and Young killed several times. Well, the Sooners ran it again on the play right before the blocked FG in the second half. Durron Neal got lit up. Burn the playbook page. Now.
Julian Wilson's INT return
Wilson’s awesome INT return almost ended in some Desean Jackson-like ugliness. First, he slowed down and was almost caught in Leon Lett-like fashion. Then he was far too close to the field when he dropped the ball after crossing the goal line.
Just hand the ball to an official, Julian. Thanks.