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 4 grades:
Baker Mayfield – B+: At the end of the day, former Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis’ message is all that really matters for a quarterbacks: Just win, baby. That’s what Mayfield did. He wasn’t spectacular – completing just 56 percent of his passes and finishing with his worst yardage total other than Tennessee. He was also sacked four times, and he showed happy feet in the pocket.
But he did win, and he did throw for more than 300 yards and posted his fourth-straight, three-touchdown game. It’s hard to discredit Mayfield too much just because “looked” like he had a mediocre game.
Zack Sanchez & Jordan Thomas – C+: The highs with Sanchez are so high, but the lows are so low. It’s a roller coaster with him. He fell down on a play that allowed West Virginia to get into field goal range, but then picked up a sack two plays later to force them to settle for a field goal. Thomas has been a little more consistent this year, except for missing time. He also made some big plays but didn’t have the huge errors.
West Virginia’s top two receivers coming into the game (Shelton Gibson and Jovon Durante) combined for just seven catches and 79 yards. Thomas locked down Gibson, who averaged 27.4 yards per catch before the contest. Gibson averaged less than 12 per catch against Oklahoma.
Oklahoma’s composure – B-: The first confrontation started in the end zone before kickoff. Words were exchanged, maybe a few shoves, but it was nothing too serious. The problems came after kickoff – or more specifically in the first quarter. Oklahoma was flagged for seven penalties for 85 yards in the first quarter and then allowed West Virginia back into the game after taking a 17-point lead midway through the second quarter.
That’s the bad.
The good part was that after the first quarter, Oklahoma committed just five penalties and none in the second quarter. Not a great stat for one of the more highly penalized games in Bob Stoops’ tenure but not a horrific one.
Once West Virginia pulled within three points in the final minute of the third quarter, Oklahoma rolled off the final 17 points of the game to win. You’d rather see composure last the whole game, but Oklahoma showed some resolve Saturday.
Offensive line – C+: Remember those four sacks we talked about earlier? Yeah, they weren’t all on Mayfield. The offensive line also averaged just 3.2 yards per rush – the third time this season that they’ve been held under four yards per carry.
It’s still just not a clean effort up front. It’s still a work in progress. The Mountaineers were going to bring some heavy and exotic blitzes, so the offensive line was going to be tested.
Did they pass? Yeah. Is anyone overly impressed moving forward? Not really.
Defensive line – A: In the most disruptive game since the 2013 Sugar Bowl (I know, I said I wouldn’t talk about it any more), the Sooners’ pass rush showed again what it can produce.
The final stat line: Seven sacks, 12 tackles for loss and five turnovers. If you’re measuring defense differently in the current Big 12 than you have in the past, then those numbers are about as good as it gets. Naysayers might point out that the defensive line had just one sack and just two tackles for loss, but someone has to make those holes.
It was the kind of game the defensive front needed to start Big 12 play. The perfect kind of game.
Oklahoma’s overall grade – B: Some good and some bad. Maybe there was more bad that kind of got glossed over because of the win. The offense wasn’t stellar but still helped to put up 44 points and more than 400 total yards.
The defense was good in one or two areas, but it still allowed more than 350 yards of offense. Turnovers and big plays erase that though.
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