Here are the Game 12 grades:
Oklahoma doesn’t abandon the run if Perine is in the game in overtime.
If he’s playing, Oklahoma likely doesn’t punt because the burly freshman back picks up the one first down that the Sooners’ needed to ice the victory.
Perine, who had just five carries against Baylor, has become such an important part of the Sooners’ offense that Oklahoma seems to have no idea how to play without him.
Oklahoma without Perine – D: Everything came off the hinges when Perine left the game with a left ankle sprain. He didn’t limp off the field, but the Sooners might as well have.
The offense went dead, the defense eventually broke down under the stress and the special teams allowed the game-tying touchdown in the final minute.
Nobody would have picked before the season that Perine would have been the most important player on the roster. But he is now, and without him, Oklahoma was at a loss, especially when it game to play-calling.
Aaron Ripkowski – A: Ripkowski was honored with Don Key Award before Saturday’s game. It’s given to the best all-around player on the team – taking into account play on the field, actions off the field and academic achievement.
Ripkowski embodies that award, and in his final home game with Oklahoma, he showed that he deserved it. He scored three times, one of which was on pure effort. After catching a pass behind the line of scrimmage, he carried five Cowboys into the end zone.
After the game, he didn’t care about his individual success. He was still beaten down by the Oklahoma loss.
Jordan Thomas – C: There wasn’t much good about Thomas’ performance, but it’s important to take note of his play as a whole. He needed to be better and he will get better, but Thomas is hardly a Division-I cornerback, yet.
He was primarily a read option quarterback in high school – don’t get any crazy ideas. Most experts thought he would be a safety in college. He’s still learning his new position and based on the next grade, he isn’t learning how to play it very much.
Thomas had six tackles but most came because he blew an assignment. He really struggled in coverage. He’ll be better, but it’s still a work in progress.
Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops – D-: It’s becoming more and more clear that Stoops really has no immediate answer when the Sooners’ initial defensive plan goes wrong. Oklahoma State scored 35 points in regulation, the most the Cowboys have scored in four quarters since September.
Albeit seven of those points were because of special teams, nothing was ever fixed this season regarding the pass defense. Oklahoma’s secondary is one of the worst in the country and allowed a true freshman making only the second start of his career to throw for 273 yards, which is just 0.6 above its average.
The worst part of the situation with the secondary is that Stoops hasn’t adjusted. The defense is clearly too complex for the inexperience that is rampant on the back end. He never simplified it. They still don’t understand the schemes.
It’s one thing for players to be bad, but there’s no excusing it. But hey, at least Oklahoma held a team to less than 300 passing yards.