What an incredible win against Ohio State for Lincoln Riley in his real national debut as a head coach. It’s going to be hard to pick out individual elements in a game where everyone gets a game ball, according
This win felt a lot like the Kansas State game in 2000 to me. No one was picking OU to win on the road, with OU pulling away in the second for a statement victor.
OU has its whole season ahead of it, and varied roadblocks lie ahead in Big 12 play (KSU in Manhattan, for instance). But this dominating win over OSU in Columbus gives OU a significant trump card to play if need be come selection time for the College Football Playoff.
The only real “concern” coming out of Columbus is that OSU is badly overrated – serious problems at QB and a secondary that will probably get exposed several more times this year.
The Just Plain Freaking Awesome
What more can you say or write? He had a 94 percent completion rate in the second half, making play after play.
Mayfield is getting very close to distancing himself as the best QB of the post-John Blake era. A drive to a national title is the only real separator. He has a chance to win OU’s third Heisman Trophy this century.
For any of those upset about him planting the flag, get over yourself. The media complains about lack of real emotion and character in sports stars, then Mayfield gets critcized for planting a flag on a turf field.
All week, the question was how was OU’s OL would handle the OSU's super, NFL-caliber squad of defensive linemen. Well, the OU OL controlled them for 60 minutes.
Did the Buckeyes get some sacks? Sure. Did they stop some plays? Sure.
But, overall, OU put up 31 points (which could easily have been 45 points) and nearly 500 yards of offense while only punting once. In the most critical matchup of the game, OU won.
Give offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh a lifetime contract.
When Mark Andrews went down during the first half, I think all Sooner fans were thinking the worst: fumbles, the missed FG and now our best receiver getting hurt. It was all adding up to not being OU’s night.
Mayfield was not going to let that happen, and he found a weapon to take advantage of OSU’s high safety coverage in Flowers.
Flowers had a career day, and his TD catch-and-run was a decisive play in the game. Skipping a red zone battle with the OSU DL was a relief. OU’s had a talented line of fullbacks before Flowers, from Seth Littrell to J.D. Runnels to Matt Clapp to Trey MIllard to Aaron Ripkowski. It’s quite possible that Dmitri Flowers might be the best offensive player of the bunch.
Bob Stoops' reaction and Riley's locker room speech
Bob’s luxury box reactions were only surpassed by the moments on the field and in the tunnel where he congratulated his former team. It was a great way to mark the transition in the program while showing but that like Barry Switzer, Stoops is still firmly attached to the program.
Riley’s locker room speech gave a small view into how he just might combine the best aspects of his legendary predecessors. He has the attention to detail and management skills of Stoops, and he also shows a players' coach kind of connection that Switzer always had.
Ogbo saved his best game as a Sooner for a great time. He made key tackles for loss, halting OSU drives, especially in the red zone. His constant pass-rushing pressure gave J.T. Barrett a case of happy feet and forced him to bail from the pocket repeatedly.
Ogbo was a true senior leader, keeping the defense together and performing at a high level. He’s Mayfield's equivalent on that side of the ball.
The Very Good
Jeff Badet, CeeDee Lamb and Mykel Jones all took big steps forward on Saturday. I previously mentioned that they might be terrors by midseason. Well, midseason started in Columbus, so, Big 12, watch out.
After a really bad fumble off a lateral, Badet rebounded with big play after big play, culminating in an unreal sideline catch worthy of Ryan Broyles or Mark Clayton or Sterling Shepard.
Lamb made clutch catches and should have had a TD bomb, but Mayfield under threw him. He does not look like a true freshman out there.
Mykel Jones had the longest pass play of the night. He may finally be breaking into his role as slot WR.
Add in Grant Calcaterra at tight end and Lee Morris, and the depth of OU's receiving corps gives Mayfield multiple reliable targets.
While OU was making too many mistakes in the first half, the defense played a great game overall. The first two quarters were their best half of football in forever against a top 25 opponent: three points points and less than 100 yards of offense. (And those 3 points only happened because of a short field turnover.)
Coordinator Mike Stoops mixed up formations and players. He kept LBs in the game to handle the OSU running game, while his secondary shut down the OSU's passing game, save for a play or two.
Ignore the garbage yardage in the fourth quarter; OU shut down the OSU offense. Most importantly, a host of Sooners made big plays on all three levels of the defense.
Trey Sermon and Rodney Anderson
Abdul Adams got off to a great start and then fumbled on a possession that looked like it was going to lead to an OU score. After that play, OU’s primary RB was Sermon, with a nice dose of Anderson mixed in.
Sermon played a great game for a true freshman in that environment. Even though OSU’s DL made running room scarce, Sermon moved the pile and showed some nice moves in picking up extra yards and keeping OU out of third-and-long scenarios. His play of the game was his TD catch in the red zone on first and goal in the second half.
Anderson flashed some of those elite skills with some nice runs and a great cutback swing pass. He seems to be rounding into form.
Just like the WR group, OU’s RBs could be deadly by the end of the year.
The turnovers only led to 3 points, but could have helped build a bigger Buckeye edge at half. Huge credit to the OU defense for overcoming them.
Special teams miscues
The missed field goal and Parris Campbell's big kickoff return cost OU points. In fact, it’s highly likely OSU does not score a TD without that short field from the big kickoff.
Fortunately, the missed FG did not come back to hurt OU, but there are going to be games where those easy attempts have to be scored.
Hopefully the injuries do not derail the seasons of Will Johnson and Mark Andrews. Both players were off to great starts.
My god, his commentary was awful. I thought I was listening to the Buckeye Network. ESPN really should keep him off Ohio St. games. It was pathetic.