Every play matters but some end up factoring into the game’s outcome more than others. Sooners Illustrated looks at the five biggest plays from the week that was.
Game No. 3: vs. Tulsa (52-38)
Play No. 1: Tulsa strikes back
This game changed in a hurry in the final 2:01 of the first half. OU was up 31-10 and driving for another score when Joe Mixon fumbled inside the Tulsa 20 yard line.
It woke up the Golden Hurricane, and quarterback Dane Evans came alive. He orchestrated an 80-yard drive in 1:14 to make it a respectable 31-17 margin heading into half.
Or so we thought. On the ensuing squib kick, the ball smacked into Frank Shannon, and Tulsa was able to recover it and score on a Hail Mary from 43 yards out with one second left in the half.
That’s how quickly 38-10 turns into 31-24, and it was clear the Sooners were going to be involved in a dogfight with their in-state foe.
Play No. 2: Perine busts loose
It wasn’t a huge play unless you look at the grand scope of things. Perine left the game in the first half with an apparent finger injury and still hadn’t really been able to get things going.
On the first play of the second half, he went for 17 yards en route to his first 100-yard game of the season. Perine had 116 of his 152 yards in the second half and also added a touchdown.
It’s clear the Sooners are still trying to figure out how to maximize his talent in the Air Raid offense, but Saturday was a nice glimpse of what could be possible.
Play No. 3: Shepard to the rescue
Both teams began the second half with a punt, and OU faced a third-and-four at its own 28 yard line with under 10 minutes remaining.
The drive ended with a Jarvis Baxter 29-yard touchdown reception and showed once again just how valuable Shepard is to OU’s offense.
Shepard didn’t find the end zone but finished with eight catches for 144 yards and made the pivotal, competitive plays he’s known for.
Play No. 4: Mayfield with the razzle dazzle
What more can you say about Mayfield’s second touchdown pass to Mark Andrews? Honestly. This had no business working, but that’s the beauty of Mayfield right now.
It looked like Mayfield was going to be sacked, but he got out of it. Then it looked like he was going to roll out and run, but he opted to step back and fire a dart to Andrews, who finished the play with a nice turn after catch and into the end zone.
Andrews had three catches and his first two career touchdowns, while Mayfield had a day for the ages with 572 total yards (487 passing, 85 rushing, six total TDs).
Play No. 5: Perine ices game
Tulsa wouldn’t go away. Narrowing the gap to 52-38 with 3:38 left in the game, OU went to Perine again and again.
And Perine delivered. Two third down conversions later, and OU could line up in the victory formation and breathe that sigh of relief.
The Air Raid is nice and all, but the Sooners know they’re going to need drives like the one that closed this out. Get nasty on the ground and get results.
Perine isn’t flashy, but he gets stronger as the game progresses. Nobody is saying Tulsa would have come back to win, but Perine’s efforts made sure it didn’t even have a chance to happen.