OU 11: Game 12

Ripkowski continues to dominate the top spot despite loss

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 12:

1. Aaron Ripkowski – (22 points): Except for a monumental collapse by Oklahoma in the final five minutes, Ripkowski might have gone down in Bedlam history for his performance. He scored three times, including one of the most effort-laden plays in recent memory – dragging five guys into the end zone. Before Saturday, Ripkowski had just two touchdowns in his career. He had three Saturday, including what should have been the game-winner.

2. Zack Sanchez – (18 points): After what should have been the game-sealing interception, Oklahoma had plenty of reasons to celebrate Sanchez’s sixth interception of the season. He is currently tied for the Big 12 Conference lead in picks. Sanchez has made plenty of plays all season, but his biggest one didn’t mean anything.

3. Samaje Perine – (18 points): Perine’s importance to Oklahoma was magnified when he went down with a “left ankle sprain.” That’s in quotes because the way he reacted made it seem like much more than that. Perine won the Big 12 rushing title and is the first Oklahoma Sooner to lead the conference in yards per game. He is the total package a running back and still just a freshman.

4. Steven Parker – (17 points): No other player has had a crazy season than Parker – filled with good plays and horrible blown coverages. He recorded his first sack on Saturday, a beautifully timed blitz. There might have been a forced fumble, but that’s lost to history. He finished Bedlam with 5.5 tackles and a pass break-up. He could be a great player for Oklahoma. He’s just not yet.

5. Daryl Williams – (14 points): Williams is one of those players who has so much impact on the game but so little control over whether the Sooners win or not. The Sooners averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and there’s nothing he can really do about Oklahoma going pass-heavy at the end of the game.

6. Blake Bell – (13 points): Bell had a career-long reception of 47 yards and a career-high 59 yards on two catches. His biggest catch though was the one that didn’t happen. Bell was open on the first play of overtime, and quarterback Cody Thomas missed him. Open and he missed him. If Bell catches the pass, he scores. If he scores, Oklahoma believes again. If Oklahoma believes, it probably wins. But he didn’t catch the pass.

7. Charles Tapper – (9 points): Tapper might have had one of his better games of the year, although like most of the success, his was lost in a turmoil of the late collapse. He finished the game with 3.5 tackles and 1.5 for loss. He also had a quarterback hurry.

8. Dominique Alexander – (8 points): Alexander’s best plays might not have made the stat sheet. He had his share of missed tackles, but he ranged from sideline to sideline with Tyreek Hill, the fastest football-playing human on the planet. He has just five assisted tackles, well below his season average, and a half-tackle-for-loss.

9. Keith Ford – (4 points): When Perine went out, Ford made Oklahoma forget about its misfortune for at least one play. He broke a 56-yard run and finished the game with 10.1 per carry average on nine touches. He also had a team-high three catches for 34 yards. He is an integral part of Oklahoma’s third-down offense, but when he went down, all was lost.

10. Nick Hodgson – (4 points): Kickoff is the best time for Hill to make plays. It’s a long way to the end zone, and the ball can’t be kicked out of bounds. Hodgson held Hill to just one kick-off return of 31 yards. Four of his six kick-offs were touchbacks, and he averaged 62.5 yards per kick.

11. Chuka Ndulue – (3 points): Ndulue played his last game at Owen Field, and he was distraught with the way it ended. He was the closest to catching Hill, but at 300 pounds, he didn’t have a chance to make the tackle. He was much closer than most men his size would have been. Ndulue had half a sack and a quarterback hurry.

Honorable mention: Eric Striker


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