Wow, I'm not sure how to reconcile the last two performances by OU. Not to mention, the weird road team dominance in the series with Kansas St. continues.
The pace, speed, and variety of the passing attack. OU was not going to let KSU blitz and tee off on quarterback Baker Mayfield. The short passing game and emphasis on play-action of first down had KSU on its heels all half.
OU mixed in enough runs to keep KSU honest, and it led to the best offensive performance in the first half this year. It was not just Sterling Shepard (although he had a very good game). There were big passing plays to Dede Westbrook, Durron Neal and Jarvis Baxter.
OU held KSU to 110 yards total, about 30 of which came in garbage time.
OU’s front seven controlled the run with sacks and tackles for loss. Jordan Wade, Charles Walker and Eric Striker smashed the running game at times.
OU’s secondary also shut down the KSU passing game – which missed on two big plays with
bad passes – and forced 3 interceptions that led to 21 OU points. Jordan Thomas and Zach Sanchez controlled the KSU WRs.
It was a total dominant defensive effort.
The OU running game showed signs of getting integrated with the passing game. Granted, OU ran for a season-high 232 yards primarily because of to two long drives in garbage time. Even so, the running game and the way the RBs were used in the passing game made for the best effort of the season.
Personnel changes on the offensive line
The newest OL configuration seems to be something we should see the next three weeks. Orlando Brown, Jonathan Alvarez, Ty Darlington, Nila Kasitati and Dru Samia weren’t perfect, but they played well together. The three freshmen give OU a future foundation up front.
Will Johnson seemed to have an excellent first game at nickel DB. Steven Parker at safety was an upgrade over Hatari Byrd. OU may have found something with that look.
Defensive line depth
Marquise Overton and D.J. Ward provided key depth and play making at nose guard and defensive end. Overton provided a huge push up front. Ward did a great job maintaining his
rush lane and then closing on the QB.
Emptying the bench
A lot of players got reps. OU needs to build depth and competition, so every little bit of experience helps.
Daniel Brooks got to flash some of his skills, in particular.
KSU’s offensive game plan seemed strange. The Wildcats came out passing against an OU defense that was shredded by a running attack last week. After OU jumped on KSU with a quick 14-point lead, the Wildcats seemed even more focused on passing.
OU's charter service
United needed four planes to get OU from Oklahoma City to Manhattan, and the team spent nearly eight hours at the the airport apparently going over film and game prep. Maybe this will lead to a new road game tradition of checking into the hotel at midnight.
OU moves into a three-game stretch in which the Sooners will likely be heavy favorites. Hopefully, the team can develop some consistency and depth to get through the gauntlet at the end of the year.