OU 11: Game 3

Stellar defense highlights Sooners' top players against Tennessee

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 player gets 1). That makes for a maximum of 22 points.

Here’s the OU 11 for Game 3:

1. Eric Striker (20 points) – Striker might as well have set up camp in the Tennessee backfield because he was there all day. He had three quarterback hurries and his pressure forced nearly half a dozen sacks. He was the most disruptive player on the field. Period.

2. Julian Wilson (20 points) – Wilson has become a truly complete corner. His 100-yard interception return, only the second of its kind in school history, was the highlight of a special night. He led the team in pass breakups (2) and solo tackles (6).

3. Quentin Hayes (18 points) – Hayes sure showed he can lay a hit Saturday. He finished with three tackles for loss and two sacks. Both were team highs. On one of those sacks, he forced and recovered a fumble that turned into the Sooners’ first touchdown.

4. Dominique Alexander (14 points) – If you listened closely to the PA announcer Saturday, he sure said Alexander’s name a bunch. He had six tackles in the second quarter alone, when Tennessee finished with minus-6 rushing yards, and had a team high 12.

5. Jordan Phillips (13 points) – Aside from his dance, Phillips looked really good Saturday. Phillips spent much of the second half on the bench, but in the first half alone he made all four of his tackles, picked up his sack – with a dance – and had 1.5 tackles for loss.

6. Chuka Ndulue (13 points) – With a silent Charles Tapper, Ndulue has been the benefactor of single blocks. All the turmoil around him and Ndulue has been a consistent force for Oklahoma. On Saturday, he had four tackles and a sack.

7. Trevor Knight (13 points) – Although not flashy, Knight did everything that was asked of him Saturday against Tennessee. He made the right reads in the zone read and threw for 308 yards. He didn’t win the game for Oklahoma, but the Sooners should never need him to do so.

8. Sterling Shepard (7 points) – Shepard is turning into quite the outside/deep-threat receiver for the Sooners. He averaged nearly 22 yards per catch on his five receptions against Tennessee, and despite his size, shows great one-on-one ability.

9. Jordan Evans (4 points) – Evans made two plays that helped change the game. He ran down Tennessee running back Jalen Hurd on a dead run to the end zone, and he corralled quarterback Justin Worley as he scrambled into the open field, just before Wilson’s 100-yard interception. That’s 14 points he kept off the board himself.

10. Daryl Williams (3 points) – The running game wasn’t spectacular, but Williams was still his road-grading self. Oklahoma ran for 146 yards and averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

11. Durron Neal (3 points) – Neal has improved every week – maybe every game – and has given the Sooners reliable No. 2 pass catcher. He had 71 yards on seven receptions against Tennessee including a big 43-yard catch that led to a Sooners’ touchdown.

Honorable mention: Samaje Perine, Ty Darlington, Zack Sanchez, Blake Bell


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