Game Grades: Oklahoma 24, UTEP 7


Landry Jones – Grade: A-
He didn’t put up Heisman numbers, but Jones’ work over the off-season was apparent. The senior vastly improved his decision-making abilities, and ended the night with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. While he is still adjusting to life without Ryan Broyles, Jones looked sharp for the most part. He still has to work on his accuracy, but when he is being forced to dance around in the pocket, it can be a little difficult to put the ball perfectly in the receiver’s hands.

Offensive Line – Grade: D+
The injuries haunted the line. They were getting beat, and allowed UTEP to get to Landry three times. It forced Jones to get rid of the ball quicker, and while he is only human, the line did not always give him sufficient time to find the open guy. Also, they could not run block to save their lives. Dominique Whaley may have lost his job, and it could be a result of a poor blocking. Though, he has problems of his own.

Dominique Whaley – Grade: C
He was not the same guy from last year. And if he expects to play much in his senior season, Whaley will have to get back to his old ways quick. He only ran for 54 yards on 11 carries, and was unable to find the endzone. Dom really has to take care of the football, because the Sooners one too many times almost gave up a possession. Also, someone needs to teach Whaley how to properly block. If it wasn’t for a Whaley chop block, the Sooners could have been deep in UTEP territory. Whaley has the Florida A&M to get back in good graces with Sooner Nation, but for right now, Damien Williams has to be your starter.

Wide Receivers – Grade: B
Kenny Stills deserved an A, but as a whole, the receivers still have some work to do. Trey Metoyer and Justin Brown will come around, but who would have thought Brannon Green would have caught Landry’s only other touchdown pass? There truly is not a receiver, other than Stills, who has a guaranteed spot in the rotation. Jones will be very dependent on #4, but hopefully a Metoyer, Brown, or even a Shepard can help lessen the load on Kenny.

Defensive Line – Grade: C
No Walker, McGee, or Peterson was big for Mike Price’s Miners. Sophomore Nathan Jeffery attacked the middle, and ended the day with 177 rushing yards. The line picked it up later, once Jeffery was out of the game, but it is a huge concern with the injuries surrounding the group. Oklahoma will definitely need a full strength defensive line in time for Kansas State.

Secondary – Grade: A-
Nick Lamaison could not get anything going, so at the very least, props to the secondary for not allowing Lamaison to carve up the defense. Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris great games, but the secondary as a whole had no interceptions. While the Mike Stoops’ defense didn’t allow any points from UTEP’s offense, it would have been great if they could have got one or two broken up passes. Lamaison had a good 2011, but it still unknown whether the secondary is truly back. Yes, they showed a lot of improvement, but let’s see what they can do against Klein and Doege to open up Big 12 play.

Special Teams – Grade; C
Tress Way is still a beast punter, but he has to get blocking. A blocked punt prevented a shutout, but the punt game wasn’t the only concern. The Sooners didn’t allow any punt or kick returns for touchdowns, but UTEP snuck a few big returns by the Sooners. If one guy isn’t in the right place, then UTEP could have made the game a little closer. Although, Justin Brown looked good returning punts himself. His first punt return in a Sooner jersey went for 26 yards. Brown could be very big for Oklahoma, and definitely lived up to some of the praise he is been receiving from the coaching staff and teammates. Lastly, Michael Hunnicutt had a field goal blocked, but connected on the other, which was a 38-yard attempt.

Overall – Grade: C
Oklahoma merely played average as a team. Which is good enough to beat the Miners. Though, as pointed out on Twitter by David Ubben, if they play like this against Iowa State, they will lose by double digits. I agree, the Sooners cannot afford another performance like this, although, if anything, it made people realize Landry Jones is not the reason why Oklahoma will not win a championship this season