OU Report Card: Texas Tech

Run game makes the grade while pass defense is stills a struggle

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 10 grades:

Cody Thomas: C- – Making his first career start, Thomas didn’t look nearly comfortable enough in the first half. Credit some of that to nerves and the rest of it to a bad gameplan, which called for 17 first-half passes to just three in the second half. Thomas shook off three first-half interceptions, which can’t go unnoticed in the gradebook, to guide Oklahoma to five straight touchdowns in the second half. He ran the ball exceptionally well and did what he should have done all game. He let everybody else around him make plays. Thomas ran for 103 yards and scored on the ground and in the air.

Samaje Perine: A – If there was one player who didn’t look like he quit early in the game, it was Perine. The big freshman back showed his speed on one touchdown and pounded in two more before he was done. Perine finished with 213 yards, which pushed him past the 1,000-yard mark for the season. He became the first Oklahoma running back to reach the mark since DeMarco Murray in 2010 and the first freshman since Adrian Peterson in 2004. His burly running style also indirectly led to two other Oklahoma touchdowns. It was the third time this season that Perine has scored three times, and he still leads the conference in rushing touchdowns. He would have earned the highest grade but fell just shy on a couple of short-yardage situations, which continue to be the Sooners’ Achilles’ heel.

Pass defense: F – Between running in to each other and leaving wide receivers open by almost 30 yards, the Oklahoma secondary allowed short passes and big chunks of yards. There was really nothing positive to see on the back end of the Sooners’ defense. They allowed 300 yards in the air for the fifth time in seven Big 12 games. Oklahoma once again allowed a quarterback to have a banner day as freshman Patrick Mahomes looked brilliant on the opening drive and never turned the ball over. He completed 54 percent of his passes and had two touchdowns called back. The Sooners’ pass defense is an even weaker link than expected, and this late in the season, it’s only getting worse.

Offensive line: B+ – When finally called upon, the big five up front showed their worth. They are a groomed run-blocking unit and averaged 7.5 yards per carry. They also didn’t allow a sack. Oklahoma wasn’t bad up front a week earlier against Baylor, averaging more than five yards per carry, but the front group was expected to be dominant. Against Texas Tech, they once again were.

Play calling: C- ¬– Defense continues to be a major issue for Oklahoma, which also can’t seem to substitute properly at key moments. Receivers still had excessive room, and that cushion clearly wasn’t being used to keep deep passes from burning Oklahoma’s defense. Without offensive coordinator Josh Heupel’s change of heart in the second half, this would have been another failure for the coordinators. Cody Thomas threw three interceptions in the first half. Against the worst run defense in the conference, he shouldn’t have thrown three passes. Ultimately though, Heupel figured out the problem to which everyone’s youngest sister already knew the answer. Credit should be due for at least that.

The Texas Tech turf: B – The parade of Oklahoma players walking to the sideline with some kind of injury seemed never-ending. Trevor Knight, Julian Wilson and Sterling Shepard didn’t play but Jordan Phillips, Charles Tapper, Geneo Grissom, Adam Shead, Daryl Williams, Blake Bell, Alex Ross and Perine all suffered some kind of injury – varying in severity. So, the turf did its job for the Red Raiders.

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