The Oklahoma Sooners gave up 704 yards on Black Friday to the West Virginia Mountaineers, who put 56 points on the Milan-Puskar Stadium scoreboard. Yet, OU’s maligned defense actually made the difference in the Sooners’ 59-56 win.
On a night when two of the country’s best offenses had no problem finding the end zone, OU’s two defensive scores offset a handful of boners by the O. Oklahoma’s offense was trying to hand the game to WVU, but the Sooner D snatched it back.
WVU quarterback Will Grier exploited OU’s safeties, linebackers and nickelback in coverage repeatedly for explosive plays, a common theme this season. The ‘Eers found some holes in the run defense as well, which also shouldn’t surprise anyone.
However, OU cornerbacks Tre Brown, Tre Norwood and Parnell Motley played well, which likely did catch most observers off-guard. And when it comes to stunners, you’re lying if you claim you foresaw OU defenders forcing turnovers and scoring touchdowns.
Given everything that was on the line versus WVU, the D picked an opportune time to come through.
Other thoughts from the shootout:
*Wow, the safeties. Every time you think they can’t play any worse, they do.
I did feel bad for Delarrin Turner-Yell, who hasn’t had much of an opportunity to get into the flow this year. Asking him to get up to speed for WVU is tough, and he clearly took that dropped interception hard.
*Bookie Radley-Hiles will want to burn that game film. Just terrible.
WVU’s inside receivers toyed with OU’s DBs all night.
*Possibly worse than Bookie? OU’s linebackers in coverage. They looked completely lost against WVU’s crossing routes all night, and when Caleb Kelly had to cover slot receivers, good night, Irene.
Severe coverage problems aside, Kelly does look comfortable back at SAM OLB. He finished up with a team-leading 14 sacks.
I’ll be interested to see how he’s deployed next week versus Texas.
*The defensive line played a solid game. Having Neville Gallimore back in action seemed to help against the run.
*For the rewatch:
What was Holgo doing to get his receivers matched up with Kelly?
Could the LBs tell when a tight end was in the game? (I’m only halfway joking.)
Is Parnell Motley OU’s best corner right now?
*I don’t mess with the Heisman Trophy, but it’s funny to me to hear the buzz around Kyler Murray picking up after what felt like a subpar performance. The fumble hurt, but the interception right out of halftime dumbfounded me.
Credit due, of course: Murray tore WVU’s defense up with his legs. He also has shown fantastic poise all season – like that fourth-down conversion throw to CeeDee Lamb in the fourth quarter
(Riley should have gone for it on the previous fourth down.)
*Even after catching 11 balls for 243 yards and two touchdowns, it still seems as though Marquise Brown is operating somewhere around 80 percent.
*Kennedy Brooks’ vision really sets him apart as a running back.
*The time has come to dial back the use of the speed option in short yardage.
*For the rewatch:
What did Murray see on that interception?
Can Riley incorporate Jeremiah Hall into the offense more?
Did the offensive line do anything special with protection schemes to neutralize WVU’s David Long?