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Halftime thoughts: Oklahoma vs. Louisiana Tech

by Ryan Aber Published: August 30, 2014
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NORMAN—Oklahoma leads Louisiana Tech 31-3 at halftime in the season opener.

Here are a few quick thoughts, things to watch moving forward and stats from the first half.

THREE THINGS THAT STOOD OUT

-You’ve got to start with the early ejection of linebacker Jordan Evans for targeting. Looking at the replay, it appeared to be the correct call but that was a nightmare scenario for the Sooners. Evans was making his first career start in place of Frank Shannon, the leading tackler from last season who is fighting a one-year suspension in Cleveland County District Court. Shannon remained firmly planted on the bench as Evans was replaced by senior walk-on Caleb Gastelum. Gastelum got burned dropping back into coverage on his second play in the game but Louisiana Tech quarterback Cody Sokol under threw the pass and Gastelum nearly came up with an interception.

-Oklahoma’s offense looked at ease in all situations. Alex Ross started the age at running back and came out with a bang with a big play, then Keith Ford came in and finished off the drive with a 22-yard touchdown. Trevor Knight was efficient through the air, spreading it around to five different receivers. The Sooners also came through will a pair of fourth-down conversions, neither utilizing the Belldozer.

-The Sooners’ defensive line is DEEP. OU rolled out a second line on the defensive side, putting Matt Dimon, Matt Romar and Charles Walker in at the second time in spots. It wasn’t perfect but they were good enough to give Charles TapperJordan Phillips and Chuka Ndulue a break. He’s not on the defensive line but the Sooners also apparently have a third-down specialist at linebacker in redshirt freshman Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH IN THE SECOND HALF

-Who is the second quarterback? If this game keeps going the way it has so far, it’s likely the Sooners will want to go to a backup quarterback, if nothing else to keep Trevor Knight healthy. Backup Cody Thomas didn’t throw in pregame drills and OU coaches have expressed a desire to redshirt Justice Hansen. Tight end Blake Bell spent some time last week working at quarterback and could be a candidate to fill in there if Thomas can’t go.

-Who carries the ball? Ford, Ross and Samaje Perine all moved the ball effectively on the ground in the first half. With the game out of hand, the Sooners are likely to keep the ball mostly on the ground. Those three will all get second-half carries and OU will likely use Daniel Brooks and/or David Smith at some point if things continue on this path.

-Well, this was all set to be will the Sooners’ keep the shutout going before the Bulldogs kicked a field goal just before halftime to make the score 31-3. So now, it’ll be how the youngsters perform. Steven Parker played some in the secondary with mixed success late in the half, same with Jordan Thomas. On offense, young wide receivers Michiah Quick and Jordan Smallwood could see extensive time.

OU STARTERS
Offense:
QB Trevor Knight, RB Alex Ross, FB Dimitri Flowers, TE Blake Bell, WR Sterling Shepard, WR Durron Neal, OT Tyrus Thompson, OG Adam Shead, C Ty Darlington, OG Tyler Evans, OT Daryl Williams.
Defense: DE Chuka Ndulue, DT Jordan Phillips, DE Charles Tapper, LB Geneo Grisson, LB Dominique Alexander, LB Jordan Evans, LB Eric Striker, FS Ahmad Thomas, SS Quentin Hayes, CB Zack Sanchez, CB Julian Wilson.

HALFTIME STATISTICAL LEADERS
Passing—OU:
Trevor Knight 11-16, 142 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; La. Tech: Cody Sokol 8-18, 69 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT.

Rushing—OU: Samaje Perine 8-47, Keith Ford 7-40 2 TD, Alex Ross 9-26 1 TD, Trevor Knight 3-13, Sterling Shepard 1-2. La. Tech: Kenneth Dixon 8-26, Blake Martin 1-1, TEAM 1-(-3), Cody Sokol 2-(-4).

Receiving—OU: Sterling Shepard 3-43 1 TD, Alex Ross 2-31, K.J. Young 2-29, Keith Ford 2-19, Durron Neal 1-12, Dimitri Flowers 1-8. La. Tech: Trent Taylor 3-46, Sterling Griffin 2-11, Kenneth Dixon 1-7, Paul Turner 2-5.

 

by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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