Wrapping it up: OU-Texas Tech

More news, notes and observations from OU's 38-30 win against Texas Tech and looking forward to what's next for the Sooners.

Putting a nice bow on Oklahoma's 38-30 win against Texas Tech.

Millard cannot be replaced

Master of the obvious on this one, but there is no way the Sooners can simply just replace senior fullback Trey Millard. Doesn't happen that way.

Nobody on the team has his type of skills and versatility. Millard suffered a torn ACL in the fourth quarter covering a kickoff.

It's the second part of that sentence that is irksome for a lot of OU fans, but it has always been the philosophy of OU coach Bob Stoops to have his best players on special teams. It just backfired this time.

OU's offense is going to have to change somehow. No doubt fullback Aaron Ripkowski becomes even more important but somebody else has to emerge. Who? We'll all find out.

Freshmen linebackers play big

An injury to linebacker Frank Shannon forced freshman Jordan Evans to play the bulk of the game at linebacker. Add that to Dominique Alexander in at linebacker and yes, that was two true freshmen linebackers who weren't even committed to OU at this point last year.

Again, depth is a serious problem for OU, especially on defense.

"It doesn't get much tougher from a defensive perspective when you're playing three freshmen right in the middle of your line," defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "To beat a team of that caliber says a lot about those kids, and it says a lot about our team and our depth. I am really, really pleased."

Stoops was also referencing redshirt freshman Jordan Wade playing at defensive tackle. Evans had eight tackles, while Alexander and Wade each had four stops.

Assembly line is working

It's not allowing for any of OU's running backs to put up huge numbers, but it's working for OU to put up wins in the end.

There is no feature back and this game displayed that once again. At times it was Damien Williams. Then Roy Finch and Brennan Clay.

All three of them rushed for more than 40 yards. Finch's 55 yards on eight carries all happened in the second half, while Williams led the team with 97 yards on 19 carries and two scores.

"You have to have different styles," Finch said. "It's good to have that versatility and to be able to change things up."

Striker living up to name

It shouldn't come as a shock anymore. At least once in the first quarter sophomore linebacker Eric Striker is going to get through and make a play.

Not sure if opposing teams underestimate his quickness or believe they can bully him around, but it's not working. Striker was credited with 1.5 sacks against the Red Raiders and was that close a number of other times.

"Our pressure's been good," Mike Stoops said. "People get the ball out quick, and you're not going to have a ton of sacks when we play teams. Our pressure's been pretty consistent all year."

OU finished with three sacks, four tackles for loss and forced three turnovers.

Springboard for Bell?

Don't think coming out party is the right phrase for Blake Bell, but maybe Saturday proves as springboard for Bell for the rest of the season.

After going 1 of 4 for 17 yards in the first quarter, he went 13 of 18 for 232 yards and two touchdowns in the other three quarters.

"It's definitely a sign that we're moving in the right direction," Bell said. "We're making big plays and throwing the football."

Bell threw his best pass of the season on a 76-yard touchdown to Jalen Saunders.

Road warriors

OU is faring well at 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Big 12 and ranked No. 13 in the BCS. With one-third of the season remaining, the Sooners have to be road warriors.

OU has three of its last four games on the road, starting with the mega-showdown at No. 5 Baylor on Nov. 7 and closing the season with back-to-back road games at Kansas State and Oklahoma State. Only Iowa State remains for OU at home. The Sooners are 5-0 this season in Norman.

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