Game Grades: Oklahoma Sooners 31, Texas Longhorns 26

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The Oklahoma Sooners beat the Texas Longhorns 31-26 in the Red River Showdown on Saturday, but for Oklahoma fans it felt more like a loss. This rivalry has a way of offering up some really strange occurrences and this year was no different.

The losing team pretty much dominated the game and the winning team left its fanbase disappointed. It was without a doubt a very strange game and a tough one to break down. Handing out grades in this one is bound to cause some debate.

The Offense

Trevor Knight: B

We might as well get the controversy started right from the beginning. According to the reaction from fans and most media after the game, you would think Trevor Knight caused his team to lose a game last night. In reality, he was a big part of the reason the Sooners won.

The critics want to point out a couple really bad throws that never even came close to his target. They don’t like to point out a few great passes he made that were dropped by a young receiving corp. Still, Knight finished with a respectable 60% completion rate on 12 of 20 passing and one touchdown. Knight finished without a turnover.

When the Sooners needed Knight to step up the most, he did. In the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter with Texas looking to continue their momentum from the first half, Knight drove his team down the field twice for touchdowns. He made some really good passes and for those two possessions he made it look really easy. Oklahoma fans were scratching their heads wondering where that was in the first half. The only thing that was truly different during that stretch was the play calling.

Trevor Knight won over the starting job last year over Blake Bell mostly because Bob Stoops said his ability to make plays with his feet gave him a chance to be really special. The only problem is the game plan being constructed by Stoops, Josh Heupel or whoever else is responsible for the plays called throughout the game does not allow for a quarterback to make plays with his feet. Knight finished with two yards rushing on the day.

Running Backs: B

I put the Samje Perine’s performance at about the same level as Knight’s. He wasn’t great, but he didn’t cause his team problems and he stepped up when he was needed the most.

Perine ended up with 62 yards on 18 carries and a big touchdown that put Oklahoma up 31-13 with 12:50 to play. The freshman was also on the receiving end of a huge swing pass from Knight that gave Oklahoma their only third down conversion of the day to help put the game on ice.

Alex Ross only had four carries, but made his impact in the special teams.

Receivers: C

Dropped passes were a huge part of the reason Knight completed 60% of his passes instead of 70%. K.J. Young was the biggest culprit. The talented freshman has earned some playing time this year with the lack of depth at the receiver position, but on Saturday he had some really big drops and had issues with running his routes correctly.

Sterling Shepard was good as usual. He scored on a touchdown pass from Knight in the third quarter and ended up with four catches and 63 yards.

Durron Neal also had some issues with catching the ball and was not much of a factor. He had just 2 catches for 24 yards.

Blake Bell made a couple really good catches and looks as if he is being underutilized. He has proven to be pretty dependable when thrown to and could really be a big help in fixing the third down issues Oklahoma has had on offense.

Coaching: C

My first instinct was to give Heupel another F for play calling, but I have to give him some credit for opening the playbook up in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter. I wasn’t a fan of the double reverse after you just ran a reverse, but it showed he was willing to do something different.

Heupel still needs to make drastic changes in the way he handles Knight. The only way his young quarterback will become a difference maker is if he’s allowed to make plays with his feet.