An up-and-down night for the Sooners. Their report card reflects it. There are some stellar marks for Damien Williams and the game atmosphere, but there are some unsettling marks, too. Dropping passes and committing penalties won't get you good grades.
DAMIEN WILLIAMS: A
The junior college transfer is making a push to take over the starting job. He followed up his 103-yard performance at UTEP with 156 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries against Florida A&M. Even better is the way Williams is running. The dude is physical, scoring one of his touchdowns by spinning and surging for the goal line after initial contact, then scoring another by diving for the pylon.
You couldn't have asked for a better evening for football. The temperature was only 82 degrees at kickoff with a slight breeze. By halftime, there was actually a bit of a chill in the air. Saturday finally felt like football season.
There were shades of last season's struggles on Saturday night. Florida A&M had a 75-yard touchdown when back-up safety Jesse Paulsen failed to help and Demontre Hurst got caught behind the receiver. Yes, Paulsen was a reserve playing in place of an injured Tony Jefferson, but plays like that make Sooner fans shudder. Florida A&M had 174 yards passing, including four passes of 11 yards or more.
CLEAN GAME: D
Not even close. The Sooners had all sorts of sloppiness against the outmanned Rattlers, and much of it came from veterans. Kenny Stills dropped a sure touchdown. Landry Jones threw two passes directly to defenders, one that should've been intercepted and one that was. Gabe Ikard committed a personal foul. Lane Johnson was whistled for clipping that negated a big gain. All told, the Sooners had two turnovers and eight penalties for 80 yards.
Everything was going smashingly until the Schooner nearly took out the marching band's drum major. Thank goodness he was paying attention and fleet of foot. Then, the video of the starting lineups had a serious hiccup and was completely stopped. At least the intro video didn't get dumped.
INTRO VIDEO: A
Totally cool. Our gal Stephanie Kuzydym wrote about the popularity of the “There's Only One” theme earlier this week, and this year's video did not disappoint. It combined legends of the past, including Barry Switzer, Steve Owens and Clendon Thomas, with today's Sooners. Goosebumps.
JONES-STILLS CONNECTION: B
This would've been an A grade if not for Stills' drop of a sure touchdown in the first half. But it's evident that the quarterback and receiver are developing some solid chemistry. They connected 10 times for 120 yards, which was a career night for Stills and accounted for more than half of Jones' completions.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C
Jones didn't have to scramble quite as much as a week ago, though there was some pressure on him. You wouldn't expect there to be any against a lower-division foe like Florida A&M. While the offensive line blew open some nice running lanes, it also committed a pair of unnecessary personal fouls. Those cost it a better grade.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B
A solid night for the defensive front. The starting unit accounted for three sacks, four tackles for loss and a decent amount of pressure on Florida A&M's quarterback. Also, good news for those starters — back-up tackles Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson were able to spell David King and Jamarkus McFarland some. Those younger guys were not spectacular but solid.