Oklahoma football: Takeaways from the 23-20 loss to West Virginia

Oklahoma football traveled to Morgantown, West Virginia, Saturday to take on the Mountaineers, who were perceived to be the worst team in the Big 12 conference going into the weekend.

For much of the game Oklahoma appeared to be clearly the better team, and outplayed WVU, however, the Sooners ultimately lost the football game due to several discipline, and execution issues as well as coaching mismanagement in the contest.

For the Sooners, the nightmare season has continued to spiral downward. The Sooners won the turnover battle, had a 200-yard rusher, outgained WVU, and had a productive game in terms of TFLs and sacks, and yet Oklahoma still managed to find a way to lose to the 3-6 ‘Eers.

The Good

Eric Gray, the Oklahoma offensive line. Danny Stutsman.

Eric Gray has been really good all year, Saturday was no exception as the senior tailback eclipsed 1000 yards on the season with the 211-yard performance which was good for 8.4 yards per carry. Eric Gray could not be stopped by anyone besides his play-caller in the ball game.

Danny Stutsman clearly heard what everyone had to say about him and his performance against Baylor. But the Sophomore linebacker used it as fuel as he got to work. Stutsman recorded an early interception to go along with 14 tackles and a half-sack. Stutsman was much better when it came to gap integrity and clearly showed he can turn it up.

The Bad

Brent Venables game management, critical execution errors, rushing defense late.

Let’s dive right in, when you have one of the best offensive lines in the country, a running back who is on fire, and a freshman future superstar at the position, in terrible weather conditions, RUN THE DAMN BALL.

The Sooners too often put the game in the hands of Dillon Gabriel in critical moments, which has proven to be the wrong answer now three times. In addition, the decision to kick a 46-yard field goal in the elements was a head-scratcher. Zach Schmit is a good kicker, but like many times this year coaching failed to put their players in the best position to succeed. Your offensive line is pushing WVU around, Eric Gray has 200 yards. Get that 4th and a short two and get out of town with the W.

Marvin Mims had a drop, Gabriel missed a wide-open Marvin Mims, and Brayden Willis had poor attention to detail and went beyond the line of scrimmage creating a Theo Wease pass interference that otherwise would have been a touchdown. The offensive line had a false start on 4th and inches, special teams allowed a long kick return before the half. Oklahoma for the second straight week got in their own way more often than the opponent in a loss.

The Oklahoma football play of the game

Robert Spears-Jennings with the hit stick! Billy Bowman with the long return, for two points! Right before the half!

Player of the game

RB Eric Gray.

Nov 12, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Eric Gray (0) runs the ball during the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Gray could not be stopped he was a runaway train who wasn’t off the tracks, he just didn’t need them. He showed incredible patience, power, and speed as he carved the Mountaineers up over and over again.

What’s next for Oklahoma?

The analytics still love Oklahoma, and nearly all of them place Oklahoma as a top 20-30 team in the country despite the 5-5 record. The Sooners head into Bedlam a seven-point favorite. The Sooners have not had a losing season in 23 years, the longest such streak in the country, these next two games will go a long way in determining if that becomes 24. Can the Sooners put it all together in time to close out 2022 with a bang? Well, signs do not point to yes, but we will find out shortly.