OU vs. Ball State: Report Card

NORMAN, Okla. — Sooners Illustrated provides this week's edition of grades below.

Offensive Execution: A-

Junior quarterback Landry Jones and company left last week's slow start against Missouri far in the rear-view mirror. In its first full game without starting center Ben Habern, OU did not miss a beat. Sophomore Gabe Ikard filled in nicely at center and senior Stephen Good played well at left guard in replacing Ikard. Jones completed six-of-seven passes for 73 yards in directing the Sooner offense on an 85-yard scoring drive on OU's first offensive series. Senior tight end James Hanna finished off the possession with a six yard touchdown reception from Jones. Though Jones badly overthrew a ball late in the second quarter resulting in a Cardinals interception by Kyle Hoke, he was pretty efficient overall. Jones finished 23-for-33, passing for 425 yards and five touchdowns. Whaley paced the rushing attack with 109 yards on 15 carries. Overall, the Sooners racked up 655 total yards offensively on 77 snaps.

Ball Distribution: A+

Jones has said publicly that senior wide receiver Ryan Broyles is his safety blanket. Against Ball State, the Sooners would have been just fine without their All-American candidate in Broyles. Jones did an excellent job of mixing up receivers, connecting with eight different targets on the night. Sophomore wide receiver Kenny Stills led the way with seven receptions for 80 yards and one touchdown. Sophomores Jaz Reynolds and Roy Finch also grabbed three passes and combined for 199 receiving yards and one touchdown.

Defensive Intensity: A-

After letting unranked Missouri carve up the secondary in the first and fourth quarters last Saturday, it's safe to say Oklahoma was determined to not allow a repeat performance. The Sooners dominated defensively from start to finish in holding the Cardinals to 214 total yards on the evening. Oklahoma's defense forced three-and-outs on each of Ball State's first three possessions, one of which came after Broyles fumbled on a punt return to set the Cardinals up at the OU 26-yard line. OU limited Ball State to 14 completions on 36 attempts, surrendering just 6.8 yards per reception.

Forcing Turnovers: A+

The Cardinals' starting quarterback Keith Wenning entered the contest without having thrown an interception on 130 passing attempts through four games. Once the night was over, Wenning had thrown three interceptions to one player. Sophomore defensive back Tony Jefferson came up with the hat trick and in the process became just the ninth player in OU history to have three interceptions in one game. Jefferson nearly came up with a fourth as well. He was not without help, though. Defensive linemen Frank Alexander and R.J. Washington helped by tipping two of Jefferson's interceptions in the air. Senior linebacker Travis Lewis also forced a fumble that sophomore Tom Wort returned 22 yards for a touchdown.

Special Teams: D

Ball State caught Oklahoma napping on the opening kickoff by attempting and recovering an onside kick. Later in the first quarter, Broyles fumbled on a punt return to set the Cardinals up inside Oklahoma's 30-yard line. Of course, a poor special teams night would not be complete without a missed field goal by the Sooners. Redshirt freshman kicker Michael Hunnicutt pulled a 30-yarder left of the upright in the second quarter. Once again, OU failed to get a big kickoff return. Overall, the Sooners netted just 57 total yards on five punt and two kickoff returns. However, Oklahoma's kickoff and punt return coverage was good, and that keeps this grade from falling into the "F" category.

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