Anytime you can escape Lubbock with a win it’s a good thing, right?
While this game wasn’t quite the offensive mess of the 2016 meeting between Oklahoma and Texas Tech, it was a game where defense clearly was on the back burner. Saturday was one of the sloppiest we’ve seen a Sooner team play in quite a while and if this there a better team (or if Alan Bowman didn’t get hurt) this could have ended in a crushing defeat for OU.
- In last week’s Schooner Pod, I noted that we haven’t exactly seen Kyler Murray play in any intense road atmosphere at OU. Considering the only thing close to those circumstances would be the Texas game where Murray threw a questionable interception and lost the ball on a pretty rough fumble, I thought we might see him rattled in Lubbock and boy was he. Murray threw two picks from inside his own twenty five on Oklahoma’s first two drives of the game, putting the Sooners in a 14-0 hole right from the gun. While Kyler did recover his composure, throwing for 360 yards and adding 100 on the ground, this has to be a major concern for a team with a date in Morgantown on the schedule.
- As bad as the officiating was, the only reason this game was close is due to easily fixed mistakes. Too many holds, too many pass interference calls (two of which in the endzone, with one of them not even being one at all), and too many personal fouls. This game, as well as the earlier Texas-West Virginia game, were entirely too over officiated which is becoming a frustrating trend with these officiating crews. Apparently, you have to play emotionless or else the flags will be flying.
- The defense is (justifiably) getting slammed, but honestly there were some aspects of improvement. Most of the good aspects did happen after Red Raider quarterback Alan Bowman exited the game with his collapsed lung issue coming back, but the defensive line pressure and red zone defense looked good.
- With that being said, Antoine Wesley, Tech’s 6’5 receiver, going off for 199 yards was not ideal. As noted MANY times, our secondary has a clear issue with large receivers. This is a personnel issue; our corners simply aren’t big enough to stop any tall receiver it seems. Spin Zone: maybe one of them will break out the Russell Westbrook “rock the baby” celebration and get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty from a Big 12 ref.
- The twin pillars of CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown have dominated the OU receiving column this season, but yesterday Lee Morris was the star of the show. Morris, who is usually known for basically only catching touchdowns, had a monster game for the Sooners yesterday with 101 yards on four receptions and two touchdowns.
- How about the attempt to throw Carson Meier a fade in the endzone?
MVP: Trey Sermon
Having a deep stable of running backs is massively beneficial for many reasons, but with Lincoln Riley’s “go with the hot hand” strategy it provides an important motivational tool; perform or ride the pine. After TCU, I though we might see Kennedy Brooks fill more of a leading role. Trey Sermon has sure flipped that notion on its head the past two weeks. Sermon broke off a career day, rushing for 206 yards and three touchdowns. The guy simply couldn’t be stopped, blending a mix of hard running with his excellent ability to separate in open space.
LVP(s): Pretty Much Everyone But Trey Sermon
Simply put, OU did not look like themselves at all. I don’t know if it was the fouls, the rough start or the Tech atmosphere, but the Sooners just couldn’t shake the funk. The decision making on and off the field was just really off. In addition to what I’ve covered already, the offensive looked rushed and panicked at times, the defensive IQ was highly questionable and honestly this just wasn’t a good performance. The Oklahoma offense did play great, but if the Sooners want to win anything of substance they can’t rely on the offense to bail them out. If they do, the game will most likely end the way it did in the Cotton Bowl.
The Big Idea:
I know it’s hard to feel good about this team’s overall chances with teams like Alabama, Michigan and Clemson looking dominant in all facets of the this weekend, but you gotta realize that this game is about survival. You don’t have to be the best team every game, just the best team that day. OU looked rough, but the loss column still has one L in it. Sometimes, escape is the best you can ask for.
Corndog and Oklahoma State in Norman for Bedlam.