OU quarterback Blake Bell was sensational in his starting debut, and the grades reflect a game in which the Sooners rolled, 51-20, despite some rough stretches by the defense.
FOUR-WIDE FORMATION: A
The Sooners hardly used the four-split formation their first two games. But with Blake Bell starting and the Tulsa defense making the run game difficult, OU reverted back to the Landry Jones alignment. And it was sensational. OU ran 36 plays with four wide receivers and gained 342 yards. On OU's other 45 snaps, it gained 265 yards. With four wide receivers, Bell completed 17 of 26 passes for 294 yards and all four of his touchdowns.
THIRD-DOWN DEFENSE: D
Tulsa converted eight of 16 third-down plays, which is not a major indictment of the OU defense. But this is. The Hurricane hardly ever faced third-and-short. In fact, TU tried to pass on all 16 plays. On only two of those 16 third downs did the Hurricane need less than five yards, and TU needed four yards on those two.
THIRD-DOWN PASSING: A
Blake Bell completed eight of 12 third-down passes, for 233 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed three times for 16 yards, converting all into first downs. The Sooners overall were 12 of 16 on third-down conversions, five of seven when they needed at least five yards.
PATRIOT ACTION: A
The Sooners honored the parents of Lt. David Wright, a Moore soldier who was killed in 2009 in Afghanistan. OU athletic director Joe Castiglione presented Tim and Michele Wright with an OU jersey that displayed “1” and “Patriot” on the back. The crowd responded with a standing ovation.
RED-ZONE OFFENSE: C
The Sooners penetrated the Tulsa 20-yard line six times and produced just three touchdowns. OU settled for three field goals, including after Jaz Reynolds' 82-yard pass reception put the Sooners at the TU 4-yard line.
The Sooners had only three penalties, and one of those was admittedly a bogus call. OU was penalized for having 12 men on the field before the first snap of the game, then on back-to-back plays late in the first quarter, Gabe Lynn was flagged for targeting and Stanvon Taylor was called for pass interference. Lynn was allowed to stay in the game upon review, when officials ruled he didn't hit TU's Trey Watts in the head, but the penalty stood.
OU kept alive its sellout streak, but only after a late push after Tulsa returned tickets. But the student section had huge blocks of empty seats, and the students left early. Hey, I know 11 a.m. is a tough starting time, but lots of students can roll out of bed at 10:30 and be there by kickoff.
KICKING GAME: B
Trey Watts' 77-yard punt return is cause for concern, but otherwise, the Sooner special teams were solid. Jed Barnett's only punt went 45 yards. Nick Hodgson produced touchbacks on six of his 10 kickoffs, and TU didn't have a kickoff return longer than 29 yards, though Hodgson did sail one kick out of bounds. Jalen Saunders had a 28-yard punt return, to go with his 45-yarder against Louisiana-Monroe and 17-yarder against West Virginia.