OU Report Card: Tennessee

Defense, Offense and fans sharp for big non-conference matchup

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 3 grades:

Offensive line – C . . . There were times when the front five looked great, breaking open holes for Keith Ford and Trevor Knight on long touchdown runs. Ultimately though, they weren’t consistent enough. Knight was sacked once and the run game average only 4.3 yards per carry. It’s a tough grade, but the O-line would likely grade themselves out the same way.

Eric StrikerA+ . . . Taking on the position grade as well as his individual grade, Striker – and the front seven pass rush – was outstanding Saturday night. Striker finished with six tackles, five quarterback hurries and two tackles for loss. He didn’t register a sack though, but he had a hand in just about every one of the Sooners’ five total. Oklahoma had entered the game with only four on the season.

Trevor KnightA- . . . Knight was as good as he will need to be for the Sooners, and he was stellar in the role of distributor. He had but one blemish – an interception – to his otherwise perfect day. But even the interception wasn’t really his fault, as a deep pass was tipped (maybe interfered with) late in the second half as Oklahoma was trying a desperate attempt to put up points.

Zack SanchezB . . . Had it not been for an interception in the end zone, Sanchez’s grade would look a lot different. It begs the question: Would you rather have a sound tackling corne back or one that makes game-changing plays and keeps points off the board? Honestly, I want both. But Sanchez now has four straight games with an interception.

Julian WilsonA+ . . . Wilson has quietly made a really strong case for himself as the Sooners’ No. 1 cornerback. Well, it’s loud if you look at some of his hits and his 100-yard interception return last night – only the fifth play of that many yards in Sooners history. That’s saying a lot for a guy who was a question mark of whether he’d be the team’s No. 2 corner only three months ago. He also had six tackles and two break-ups.

Dominique AlexanderB+ . . . Again at the top of tackle chart, Alexander was great at filling in the middle and finished with a season-high 12 tackles (one for loss). He has quarterbacked a defense that has now forced a turnover in seven straight games and 18 in total during those games. You heard his name a lot on Saturday, and he’s a big reason Tennessee was held to negative rushing yards through the first half.

Atmosphere – A . . . It’s very rare that fans can truly affect the game. The crowd looks great striping the stadium, and there’s great emotion after big plays. But really affecting the game? Come on, it doesn’t really happen. Then again, sometimes it does – like when Tennessee coach Butch Jones complained to the ref that his center couldn’t hear the snap count. That’s an atmosphere.

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