OU report card: Tulsa

Sooners make the grade but Tulsa field does not in second victory

Every week Sooners Illustrated will break down a few players and a few units and assign them grades based on their performance.

Here are the Game 2 grades:

Quarterback Trevor KnightB+ Knight definitely played better against Tulsa than he did against Louisiana Tech if for the lone fact that he didn’t turn the ball over. He wasn’t perfect in the passing game and actually had less to do with the run – sans his quarterback draw that went for a touchdown. He wasn’t entirely accurate with the deep ball, but he never missed in a spot that would hurt him. That’s accurate enough.

Offensive line – A If Game 1 didn’t look like an ‘A’ performance, the demolishing the Sooners’ put on Tulsa sure did. Holes were huge all day, and the only time Knight was sacked was on a long-developing play that he held the ball for too long. This was the offensive line the Sooner could be and should have been last week. They paved the way for 8.4 yards per carry and even extended on screen passes really well.

Cornerback Jordan ThomasC+ Forced into a big role when Zack Sanchez went down, Thomas wasn’t awful, but he was far from superior. Tulsa went right after him, nearly burning him or a deep touchdown were it not for Quentin Hayes’ pass interference penalty to save the day.

Defensive end Chuka NdulueA- Some might have considered Ndulue’s starting position on the line with the way Charles Walker had been playing. Walker has game-changing athleticism, and Ndulue is always a technician. But Ndulue showed Saturday that he has some athletic ability as well. He took a bad penalty, negating Jordan Phillips’ touchdown, but he finished the game with two tackles for loss, a sack and six tackles.

Linebacker Eric StrikerA Finally asked to be a coverage linebacker, Striker was surprisingly good. He didn’t have a pass breakup, but Striker kept up with Tulsa’s fast underneath receivers and finished with a team-high eight tackles. What’s most impressive is that this was the first game Striker was asked to do something completely different. He hadn’t dropped into coverage much before, but he dropped most of the day and looked like he’d been doing it for years.

Sterling ShepardA+ It was really a career day for Shepard, who hauled in eight catches for 177 yards, in a rain-drenched day. He found himself constantly behind the Tulsa defense and gave Knight a chance to work on his deep ball. Shepard found himself well covered on most plays but was ultimately able to outperform the Golden Hurricanes’ top corner and have a great receiving day during an afternoon meant for the ground game.

Footing – D- If the goal of the field was to be nearly unplayable then it deserves an A for its first-half performance. Oklahoma, which still scored 21 points in the first quarter, had trouble through the first 30 minutes of play just standing up at times. The Sooners didn’t turn the ball over once because of the rain, but it definitely caused problems – not enough to make Oklahoma fail, though.

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