Well, you can't say that OU blew a big lead in the second half this time. The Sooners' script of struggling with a team that they should put away had different twists and turns to it.
With so many uneven performances since the Ohio State game, you have to think that this is just who OU is this season. Great at times, good at other times, can't handle prosperity and often prone to making game-killing mistakes in all three phases. But when you have Baker Mayfield and this offense, you can overcome all those issues.
Still, it’s a road win, and OU responded time and time again to win this game. OU may not be a great team, but it is a dangerous team.
The huge stretch that will test OU's pass defense now comes up, and, hopefully, seeing the same scheme week after week will help the defensive prep. OU could win out or lose two more games: Neither result would surprise me. Save for TCU, every opponent left has significant flaws.
Baker Mayfield again
What can you say? He’s the best QB in college football, and I’d say he’s the best offensive player in college football.
The only blemish was the turnover, which really needed a better effort from CeeDee Lamb (who doesn’t look 100 percent). Mayfield’s mobility moved the chains numerous times, and his red zone scrambling provided a great weapon. He led back-to-back clutch drives in the fourth quarter to regain the lead and win the game.
Mayfield’s staking a real claim to being the best OU QB since 2000.
The Very Good
Finally, he is looking like the player who dominated the Texas high school playoffs. The hype on Anderson has always been just below the level of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, but it was close. We all know the injury stories, and the emergence of Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams seemed to relegate Anderson to a smaller role. Yet, we saw flashes of the real Anderson last week, and this week we got a full game seeing the kind of star Anderson can be. Power, speed, receiving skills – it’s all there.
Mykel Jones and Marquise Brown
I’ve stated that the passing game suffered at Iowa State once Lamb went out. In the weeks since Lamb's injury, Brown has stepped up his level of play big time and had a huge day in Manhattan.
Meanwhile, Mykel Jones, a milk carton candidate post-Columbus, had a great game. He made big catches setting up TDs, and he also caught balls to help move the chains on the final
Unlike the ISU game, Brown and Jones teamed with Mayfield to set up clutch TD drives.
Defense in third quarter and most of fourth
OU only allowed 12 yards rushing in the second half. If not for the botched punt attempt, the Sooners might not have given up any points in the final two quarters. All the problems stopping the run in the first half were erased with tackles for loss and consistent effort getting off blocks and being in the right run fits. Sadly, the defense didn’t finish the game in such a great manner, but without the defense controlling the third quarter, OU’s comeback does not happen.
The flashes of great play by Caleb Kelly have me thoroughly convinced that the No. 1 move in the offseason has to be putting Kelly at WILL linebacker next to Kenneth Murray next season. End this Kelly-as-Eric-Striker stuff.
Run defense in first half
KSU must be wondering how it lost this game. Who rushes for more than 260 yards in a game and still loses?
OU’s run defense started terribly and maintained that level, with KSU barely needing to complete a pass to go up 21-7. Just awful.
OU knew that KSU would be starting a running QB. KSU ran its QB run offense.
How was OU unprepared for this?
Red zone offense in first half
I believe this can be summed up in one sentence. “Don’t take the best QB in the country out of the game in the red zone.”
Perine was a master at the wildcat; not sure Flowers is as good. Mayfield did have a role in this red zone mess with his interception. Still, he wasn't under center for key plays in short-yardage situations that were botched.
OU should have been trailing 21-17 at the half or 21–20. Riley is going through some growing pains as a head coach – in particular, some strategy calls versus calls a head coach has to make. On-the-job training is kind of painful for all involved.
Seibert's snap mishap
A week after being the special teams hero in his best game of the season, Austin Siebert had his worst play of the year, aided by a bad snap. OU had the game in hand and probably wins going away if not for that momentum-shifting play. OU’s defense never recovered, and KSU had new life.
The flea flicker
Just a terrible call by Riley. OU is driving at will, up by 7. The lost yardage killed the drive and led to the punt fumble.
Pass defense on KSU’s last TD
OU finally grabbed a lead. With the clock making KSU’s usual grind-it-out approach impractical, you would have thought OU’s defense could have generated a stop. Instead, KSU marches down the field behind some of the worst coverage from redshirt freshman cornerback Parnell Motley that we have seen this year.
DC Island, where are you?