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 34, Tennessee 10
Play No. 1: Hayes makes first big defensive play of night
The whole game felt like OU had things well in hand, but the score never really reflected it. The Sooners were up 3-0 midway through the first, but Justin Worley kept the Vols in it.
On Tennessee’s first play in OU territory, safety Quentin Hayes came off the edge and leveled Worley, who fumbled. Hayes recovered the fumble and really brought the crowd into the game.
One thing that stood out throughout the night was the Vols were kept guessing about where Mike Stoops was bringing the pressure.
“It can be very disruptive as you see,” Hayes said. “It’s me sometimes. It’s the corners sometimes. It’s the linebackers sometimes. It’s coming from everywhere. I think that’s one thing that confuses offenses. They don’t know where it’s coming from.”
Play No. 2: Knight finds Ford for first touchdown
It didn’t take long for the Sooners to capitalize on that first turnover. And if you’re going to be a running back at OU, you have to do more than just tote the rock.
Through the first three games of the season, that’s where sophomore Keith Ford is separating himself from the pack.
Quarterback Trevor Knight got into a rhythm with three consecutive completions before finding Ford for a 23-yard score. No Tennessee defender had Ford coming out of the backfield and Ford used his speed to beat the Vols to the end zone.
Ford later left the game with an apparent ankle injury. Bob Stoops said it was too early to know what his status will be for next week.
Play No. 3: Phillips with the sack and the dance
Again, Worley kept the Vols in it. Now with the score 13-7, OU was coming off a three-and-out and the Vols had a chance to take the lead.
Facing a third-and-eight from midfield, defensive tackle Jordan Phillips was able to get pressure from right up the middle and sack Worley.
The sack was nice. The dance after? Stoops might have something to say about that. That play proved pivotal as on the next drive OU went down the field for another score to go into halftime with a 20-7 advantage.
Play No. 4: Neal continues to make strides
Junior wide receiver Durron Neal is still searching for that elusive first touchdown in an OU uniform, but he’s getting closer.
Coming out of halftime, Neal had the longest catch of his career with a 43-yard reception where he started to show his athletic ability that had everybody so excited when he first signed.
Neal finished with a team-high seven catches for 71 yards and is going to have to be that reliable target going forward for Knight and OU.
Play No. 5: Wilson punctuates his best game
Even before Julian Wilson sealed the game with an interception returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, it was already one of his best games ever.
Challenged early and often, Wilson was up to the task every single time. OU was up 27-10, but the Vols were on the doorstep when Wilson turned the game around in one play.
Worley’s pass was deflected by Jordan Evans and Wilson was the right man at the right time and intercepted it in the end zone and went 100 yards for the touchdown.
“I thought Julian Wilson had a record night in the way he covered and got the interception,” Bob Stoops said.
Wilson finished with six tackles and two pass breakups.