Game Grades: Oklahoma Sooners 45, West Virginia Mountaineers 33

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The Defense

Defensive Line: A

As usual the Sooners defensive line had a solid outing. West Virginia was never really able to get anything going in the running game. The Mountaineers were held to 137 yards on the ground despite running the ball 40 times.

The most impressive thing about the boys up front was their ability to stop the run on a day when Mike Stoops had to pay so much attention to the passing game. West Virginia’s ability to throw the ball meant the Sooners were not able to blitz as much as normal and depended on the line to hold their own. Once again they dominated in the trenches.

Linebackers: A

The linebackers have been just as dependable as the line early in the season. Once again they performed well at West Virginia.

The Mountaineers run an offense that really challenges linebackers by putting them in coverage. The Sooners responded well early with a sack by Eric Striker during the Mountaineers’ first possession.

Oklahoma struggled to get to the quarterback in the second quarter, but dominated in the second half. Geneo Grissom was once again able to make a big defensive play causing a fumble when he sacked West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett in the fourth quarter.

Linebacker Jordan Evans had a team-high 11 tackles and continues to impress as Frank Shannon’s replacement.

Secondary: C

For the first time this year the Sooners looked overmatched in the secondary. Both Zack Sanchez and Julian Wilson were beaten for deep touchdown passes and both appeared to have a tough time making tackles.

Sanchez was able to extend his interception streak to five games.

The Sooners will face better receivers later in the season (though, Kevin White is a stud), especially when Baylor comes to town, and they will need to improve in the secondary.

Special Teams: A

The Sooners’ special teams unit rebounded nicely after a rough outing against Tennessee. Kicker Michael Hunnicutt became Oklahoma’s all-time leading scorer with a third quarter field goal and is also the nation’s active scoring leader. His night was highlighted by a 42-yard field goal in the first quarter.

Stoops dug deep into his bag of tricks with an onside kick attempt in the second quarter that was nearly recovered by kicker Nick Hodgson. While it didn’t work out this time around, it definitely gave teams something to think about as they prepare for the Sooners later in the season.

Jed Barnett was good again punting and had a career-high 70-yard punt that was nearly downed inside the 2-yardline, but ended up just crossing the goal line for a touchback.

The play of the night was a momentum changing 100-yard kick return for a touchdown by Ross. The touchdown tied the score after West Virginia had just taken a 24-17 lead in the second quarter.

Uniforms: Incomplete

The Sooners wore their alternate road uniforms for the first time on Saturday night. The reaction from most Oklahoma fans seemed to be positive, but for a long time spectator of the Sooners it was tough to accept.

I’ll hold judgment on the uniforms until after we see the home version.