You could look at Oklahoma’s 49-27 win over Texas Tech on Saturday as a glass-a-quarter-empty performance.
With the Sooners sporting a 2-4-5 look on defense in the first quarter, the Red Raiders graciously accepted their invitation to run the ball. Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops quickly learned that the pint-sized personnel hadn’t gained an advantage against Tech’s passing game when quarterback Nic Shimonek and receiver Dylan “Blu” Cantrell hit ‘em up style for a 42-yard touchdown on the Red Raiders’ third drive.
Stoops added a third defensive lineman to the mix, and the Sooners quickly clamped down. In the final three quarters, OU’s D played close to outstanding ball, as it allowed just seven points and fewer than five yards per play.
Similarly, the offense was efficient, but it wasn’t exactly crisp. Quarterback Baker Mayfield ignored easy targets in the passing game for ill-advised tosses downfield, leading to one turnover and occasionally taking the offense off-schedule. Meanwhile, Lincoln Riley’s efforts to get cute produced some big gains – and stalled a drive or two.
Yet, even with a B-level performance, OU still spit out 7.6 yards per play on offense. That included a clock-killing drive spanning more than 11 minutes to end the game in the fourth quarter.
We’ll find out if the Sooners’ glass was really three-quarters full in the next two weeks.
*I have yet to figure out the method to the madness behind the rotation at running back. It’s possible that Trey Sermon suffered an injury against Kansas State that slowed him, but why play him in the fourth quarter if so?
*Once OU ditched the 2-4-5 scheme, the defensive line got loose. Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was his typically disruptive self, but D.J. Ward possibly had the best game of his career. With Obo commanding so much attention from Tech’s blockers, Ward used the opening to hurry Shimonek and make life hard on the Red Raiders in the backfield.
*I grow more convinced every week that CeeDee Lamb will leave Norman as the best receiver in school history. Everything he does comes off as so natural. Another year in OU’s strength program will help turn him into a dominant force out wide.
*Seven penalties for 94 yards. In other words, these aren’t garden-variety offenses. Riley has to get a grip on this.
*Mayfield and Marquise Brown just can’t quite make it happen on deep balls. Honestly, that’s about the only thing left for this offense to be truly complete.
*I will try to take a closer look at personnel this week to see what the coaching staff did on the back end of the defense in nickel. Based on what I’ve seen from Will Johnson since he has returned, secondary coach Kerry Cooks might want to consider using him exclusively at nickelback.