OU Report Card: Kansas State

Sooners near failure on special teams, defense against Wildcats

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 7 grades:

Game management – C-: Oklahoma burned through its timeouts early, and the Sooners’ play calling was sub-par, especially on both interceptions. The Sooners still struggled to get plays in on time and had to take multiple time outs in order to avoid delay of game penalties or bad matchups on defense. The game management wasn’t awful, and the play calling was good enough in the middle of the field. It’s impossible to forget about the red zone issues.

Sterling Shepard – A+: There weren’t many people who had stellar games Saturday, but Shepard’s afternoon was the best of any player in either uniform. He had a career-high 15 catches to match the Sooners’ single-game record, fell just shy of 200 yards and hauled in his 15th career touchdown. He did it all with a deep hip contusion that had him walking with a heavy limp.

Secondary – D+: Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters put a lot of pressure on the Oklahoma secondary with the threat of a run. He gashed them for a big touchdown to fullback Glenn Gronkowski, and almost all of the incompletions had nothing to do with the coverage the Sooners were applying. When the Sooner’s defensive backfield did make tackles, they were usually chasing players down from behind. Zack Sanchez’s matchup with Tyler Lockett, which resulted in just one second-half catch, is the only thing keeping this unit from a failing grade.

Trevor Knight – C+: Take out Knight’s one mistake, and he bounced back in stellar fashion. Without it, Knight threw for a season-high 318 yards and threw three touchdowns. He chose the right spots to run and was exceptionally accurate, completing 26 of 32 pass. But there was that one bad decision, that one bad pass, that one catastrophic mistake.

Special Teams – D-:Jed Barnett had been up and down for much of the season, and he was Saturday. Alex Ross was quieted as a kick returner as Kansas State took away any chances he might have had. Sterling Shepard didn’t break any punt returns, and Michael Hunnicutt did nothing to help his team – missing two easy field goals and having an extra point blocked. This would be a failure if not for Nick Hodgson, who does his job to perfection every game. Kansas State returned just one of six kickoffs.

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