OU 11: Game 8

Offensive line, running backs highlight Sooners' top players

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 8:

1. Daryl Williams – (21 points): Oklahoma put up its highest rushing total in the Bob Stoops era. That starts up front. Up front, that starts with Williams. He might be the best run-blocking tackle in the entire country. The last time Oklahoma rushed for 500 yards was in 1989. Williams wasn’t even born yet.

2. Aaron Ripkowski – (19 points): After being ejected in the Sooners’ loss to Kansas State, Ripkowski made a huge impact against Iowa State. Albeit accidentally, he injured a Cyclones’ starting linebacker early and paved huge holes for a dominating rushing attack the rest of the game.

3. Alex Ross – (16 points): Ross continues to develop with each game and seems to be playing the best of his career. His numbers Saturday showed just that. Ross finished with career-highs in yards (144) and carries (13). With surprisingly good vision and a new penchant for breaking tackles, Ross eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.

4. Tyrus Thompson – (15 points): Thompson was ruthless Saturday. He was vicious in run blocking unbeatable in pass block. He’s one of the top offensive linemen in the country and helped put together a truly complete performance by Oklahoma’s front five – one of the best of the season by any team.

5. Blake Bell – (12 points): The curve in Bell’s play during the first half of the season was expected: upward trending but inconsistent. Against Iowa State, he found the perfect stride. He made a great, athletic catch in the back of the end zone for his first touchdown and showed skilled body position down the seam for his second score. It was his first multi-touchdown game of the year.

6. Eric Striker – (12 points): Another great day for Striker usually means headaches for the opposing team, offensive line and especially the quarterback. This Saturday was extra special because he tied Brian Bosworth for most career sacks as a linebacker. He might never catch Oklahoma’s all-time leader Cedric Jones, but with a season to go, he’ll make his mark as one of the best of all time – if he hasn’t already.

7. Trevor Knight – (10 points): The two sides of Knight showed once again, but his ability as a runner operating the Sooners’ triple option game overshadowed his struggles as a passer. It was only two plays when Knight looked out of sync, and he looked almost perfect on every other play. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week scored six times, the first time any player in the FBS had three rushing and three passing touchdowns in a game this year.

8. Samaje Perine – (9 points): Perine looked more at home this past weekend than any time during the Sooners’ three-game stretch of struggles. He’s better served for Oklahoma as a late-game hammer than a first-half wedge. He rushed for more than 100 yards for the second time this season – finishing with 110 yards. He also scored his 11th rushing touchdown of the season and scored for the fifth straight game.

9. Dominique Alexander – (7 points): Alexander finished with a team-high seven tackles and was named as one of Oklahoma’s most valuable players. His improved play helped Oklahoma’s defense become more aggressive and keep the Iowa State offense off balance and off the field.

10. Charles Tapper – (6 points): Tapper was much closer to the Tapper that Oklahoma had seen last year than the disappearing act that Tapper performed for the first half of the season. Tapper caused the first fumble of his career and posted the first sack by the Oklahoma defensive line in Big 12 play.

11. Michael Hunnicutt – (4 points): After a series of miserable misses in one game, Hunnicutt returned to hit a 45-yard field goal into the wind. He was perfect Saturday – a stat line that is much more familiar to Oklahoma fans. He became the Big 12 leader in field goals in the process.

Honorable mention: Jordan Evans, Adam Shead.

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