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OU football report card: Sooners get high marks in running game, defense

by Berry Tramel Published: September 7, 2013

Strange game. OU's defense dominated, its run game was superb and yet the Sooners didn't put away West Virginia until late. The grades reflect the tightness of OU's 16-7 victory.


The Sooners used the three-running back set seven times, not counting short-yardage situations. Here are the results of those snaps: Damien Williams 16-yard run, Williams 12-yard run, Brennan Clay 32-yard run, Williams 3-yard run, Williams 1-yard run, Williams 17-yard run, Clay 14-yard run, Clay 3-yard run, Clay minus-1 yard. Nine runs, 97 yards.


Playing against a Dana Holgorsen offense, even a bad Dana Holgorsen offense, open-field tackling is vital. The Sooners mostly did a good job, though Dreamius Smith's 75-yard run six minutes into the game was concerning. Smith broke tackles from linebacker Corey Nelson and safety Gabe Lynn to get off to the races.


Most sections did a solid job of wearing the correct color, red or white, to create the alternate pattern. But the five sections of student seating went all red. And you can't blame them. Their seats are general admission. You don't know which section you'll sit in. A plan designed to fail.


Knight made some plays with his legs – runs of 9, 9, 14 and 14. And his passing actually was a little better than last week; Knight completed 10 of 20. But in the third quarter, Knight didn't carry the ball once and threw two interceptions. His one completion was an inside screen. By the fourth quarter, Blake Bell was in the game.


Mike Stoops estimated that OU blitzed 30-40 percent of the time, which probably is necessary in a three-man front, and the Sooners didn't pay for it on the back end. Bob Stoops said OU's defensive line “had to have played well.” WVU quarterback Paul Millard was sacked just once but was flushed from the pocket on a regular basis.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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