Every play matters but some stick out more than others. Each week Sooners Illustrated will look at the five plays that stood out in Oklahoma’s performance.
OU 52, Tulsa 7
Play No. 1: Knight-to-Shepard sets the tone
Everybody in the press box was assuming OU would come out and run it down Tulsa’s throats with its three-headed rushing attack.
Instead OU’s first two plays were passes that totaled 74 yards to Sterling Shepard and Durron Neal. The first one, a flip pass to Shepard as he came across the formation, went for 54 yards and sort of indicated what type of a day it was going to be for the Golden Hurricane.
“I think you’re going to see all year that he’s tough,” Tulsa head coach Bill Blankenship said regarding Shepard.
Shepard went on to have a career day with eight catches for 177 yards and a touchdown. He is now No. 19 in OU’s all-time receiving yards list.
Play No. 2: Knight takes it to the house
The talk all preseason has been about limiting the running attempts by sophomore quarterback Trevor Knight. OU has certainly done that through the first two games.
It has done it so much that when Knight kept it on purpose and went 31 yards for the score, it was the perfect call.
OU was already up 7-0 at that point midway through the first quarter when Knight’s own number was called. The offensive line opened up a huge hole in the middle of the field, Knight made a nice cut and was off to the races.
“The play opened up for me,” Knight said. “I had to side step the safety, but for the most part the O-line did a great job, and I took what they gave me.”
Knight finished with three total touchdowns and no turnovers.
Play No. 3: Bell makes first catch, first TD reception
The next drive saw Blake Bell get into the act on the receiving side of things. The very first play was a 7-yard reception to Bell. Despite the game being in Tulsa, it received a pretty loud ovation from the crowd.
Eleven plays later, Bell would get a chance to celebrate his first career receiving touchdown on a nice 3-yard find in the back of the end zone.
“It felt great,” Bell said. “I heard the ovation, but I was just like so excited to make that first catch myself. Trevor made a good read, and I was happy I didn’t drop it.”
Bell now has 37 career touchdowns at OU, but it obviously was his first as a receiver. He has 24 rushing and 12 passing touchdowns as well.
Play No. 4: Ndulue with the stop
Somewhere there has to be a defensive play and this Ndulue play sounds like the best one to describe an incredible first half by the OU defense.
The Sooners were up 21-0 in the first half and Tulsa was trying to get something started with a screen pass to Tavarreon Dickerson.
Ndulue, who played a monster first half, snuffed it out and dropped him for a seven-yard loss.
When the half was over, it was 31-0 for OU. The defense allowed nine rushing yards on 14 attempts and only 86 passing yards. Thirty-six plays for a mere 95 yards certainly helped tell the story.
Play No. 5: Ross takes it the distance
Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was this close to a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Phillips forced the pressure and picked up the ball and rumbled his way to score only for it to be called back because of a personal foul penalty.
“I mean, that was a stupid call,” said Ross of the penalty. “(Phillps) took all he had to run down and try to score, so I’m like, ‘I’m going to take it the distance for you.’”
The run was a great example of the speed of Ross as several Tulsa defenders had the angle to bring him down but simply couldn’t outrun the former track star from Jenks.