Oklahoma Sooners 45, West Virginia 33: OU finds identity on offense


– Oklahoma has finally found an identity on offense. In a 242 yard, four touchdown breakout performance by Samaje Perine, the Sooners displayed the dependency of the run game. Keith Ford may still be the feature back upon his return and speedy Alex Ross could start on many squads around the country, but Perine will almost certainly be a staple of this offense in games to come. Also, it is nice to see OU put up 40+ points after last season’s sluggish offensive production. Points on the scoreboard take pressure off of the defense and allow a little more room for error.

Bob Stoops chose to break out the Belldozer package for the first time this season. With Trevor Knight lined up out wide, Blake Bell took the snap forward two yards for a first down. As I said all of last season, the only reason the Belldozer worked in years past is because OU had the element of surprise. When it became a package seen at least once a drive, defenses could expect and defend it. Bell, coupled with a hard-hitting stable of running backs, gives the Sooners options in short yardage situations.

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– For all of the praise the running game got Saturday night, few people are mentioning the fact that Josh Heupel seems to have an aversion to letting Trevor Knight run the football. He might be trying to minimize the risk of injury seeing as OU is not exactly deep at the quarterback spot right now. If Baker Mayfield ends up winning his eligibility (and pigs fly), Heupel might allow Knight to keep it on the ground more often.

– That said, Knight is not Landry Jones. He can throw the football, but he is still shaky at times in the pocket. There was one third down in the first quarter where Knight threw it behind a wide-open K.J. Young. I understand it was his first true road test in a rabid environment so I will chalk up his array of bad throws to that. I am also not harping on Knight’s arm, but he should not be asked to throw the ball 29 times a game when he has a perfectly good set of legs.

– Most of the play calling was fantastic. The trick reverse-pass touchdown from Durron Neal to Knight caught West Virginia off guard at the perfect time. Also, regardless of whether it worked, I admire Stoops’ cahones in calling for the sneak onside kick before halftime. This staff recognizes that the team feeds off of momentum like a monster and do their best to call plays to suit that idea.

– The OU defense might not be as good as advertised. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying they are not a special unit. However, if you watched the first half Saturday night, you saw a pass rush that started strong but seemed to taper off as it got closer to halftime. Furthermore, the secondary made some mistakes that led to big plays. A total collapse in coverage resulted in Kevin White’s first score, putting WVU up 7-3. The receiver finished with 173 yards and a touchdown on 10 receptions.

– Garbage time touchdowns suck. A 45-27 final score looks a lot better than 45-33. (Apparently it did not matter too much to the poll voters. OU’s victory coupled with what should have been Washington State’s upset of Oregon put the Sooners at the No. 3 spot this week in the Coach’s poll.)