OU 11: Game 1

Defensive standouts shine against Louisiana Tech in Game 1

In victory, everybody looks good. In a loss, everybody looks bad. Each week Sooners Illustrated will rank the top 11 players from Oklahoma’s past week’s performance.

Players are assigned a point value equal to the rating given by Bob and Justin. (Top player on either list gets 11 points, 11th play gets 1). That makes for a maximum of 22 points.

Here’s the OU 11 for Week 1:

1. Jordan Phillips (21 points) – He’s back. Phillips was mightily impressive early. He was routinely in the backfield before the quarter, and there’s a reason Louisiana Tech couldn’t run the ball.

2. Keith Ford (20 points) – Diverse and skilled. Ford has waited his turn and made the most of it. He finished Saturday with 116 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. His speed makes him stand out, but his hands were really special.

3. Sterling Shepard (17 points) – Shepard passed his dad on Oklahoma’s all-time receiving list when he caught his lone touchdown. He total 49 yards, best of the plethora of receivers the Sooners used. His body positioning was superb.

4. Eric Striker (17 points) – As expected, Striker did his thing in pass-rushing situations, but what made him special Saturday was that he wasn’t exposed when he dropped into coverage. Good coaching schemes or the development of a player? Either way, Striker is the benefit.

5. Samaje Perine (13 points) – This day had been building all offseason. Perine’s 77 yards (5.9 average) and second-half touchdown didn’t disappoint. He was the ultimately compliment to Ford and Alex Ross, bounding on a defense exhausted from chasing are his teammates.

6. Geneo Grissom (9 points) – Grissom, a man completely changing positions, was kind of lost on Saturday – in that not many people noticed how good he was. He finished the game with three tackles, third on the team, and a pass break-up at the line.

7. Trevor Knight (8 points) – Even in his best game, Knight might never be at the top of this list because he doesn’t have to. He has the weapons above him to use. He did Saturday. Knight finished with 253 passing yards and one touchdown while also rushing for 17.

8. Alex Ross (8 points) – In the open field, Ross is the biggest threat in the Sooners’ backfield, maybe on the team. He wasn’t great in the traditional running back since but showed his flare with a reviving 80-yard kickoff return after Louisiana Tech’s first touchdown.

9. Daryl Williams (6 points) - Williams graded out as the top offensive lineman for a unit that did just about everything right against Louisiana Tech. He specifically paved the way for multiple runs and was able to hold down the edge in pass protection.

10. Matt Dimon (4 points) – Albeit in a back-up role, Dimon was really good in the season opener. He filled in on the defensive line and finished with four tackles – the most of any lineman – and half a sack. He proves the depth of the Sooners up front. Oh yeah, he blocked an extra point, too.

11. Zack Sanchez (2 points) – Who knew Sanchez had such ups? He definitely used all his leaping ability for his interception and found crease for a blocked field goal. He made the game-changing plays needed out of a No. 1 college cornerback.

Honorable mention – K.J. Young, Blake Bell, Jordan Thomas, Caleb Gastelum

Did we miss anybody?

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