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 8 grades:
Offensive line – A-: The line keeps getting better, and a 6.5-yard average Saturday even with the No. 2 unit in for some of the game made for a great performance. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. It was still Kansas.
This unit is better, but they are not world-beaters. They aren’t the same struggling line that showed up in Dallas or needed Baker Mayfield to save the day against Tennessee. But they aren’t the line of last year either.
Mayfield was sacked just twice – and an argument could be made that both were on him. The line is better. It’s not there yet. Don’t get too carried away.
Baker Mayfield – A: You have to grade the quarterback, and there’s not a lot to fault with Mayfield. He was a bit high on a few passes and took a couple big shots down field. It’s hard to really ding him for that, because the Sooners got completions or drew penalties on the majority of them.
Mayfield didn’t throw an interception and had just five incompletions on 32 attempts. He averaged more than 10 yards per completion. He doesn’t get the ‘plus’ because he still needs to get rid of the ball faster. He let the sideline “sack” him Saturday.
Run defense – B+: If there was one thing that could have used improvement on the Oklahoma defense, it was defending the run game. The secondary and the pass rush both rank at the top of the Big 12 – prior to having played Kansas.
It was the run defense that had lagged behind. Allowing just 35 rushing yards to Kansas is a good sign that things are coming along. In the past two games, Oklahoma had allowed and average of 120 yards per game. That’s good, but the effort against KU was stellar.
Kansas running backs averaged less than 2.5 yards per carry.
It’s not a sign that the run defense is elite. It’s more a representation of something different with the defense. Saturday was by far the best performance. It was against Kansas, though.
Kansas – D: This one comes from my fiancée (although she, a KU grad, wanted an F). But really, there are some bright spots to the program. The fans didn’t show up, but the players did. There’s a lot Ryan Willis can do for the program moving forward. He’s just a freshman and made all the right decisions Saturday.
He just needs playmakers around him. He finished 20-for-34 but had more than half-a-dozen drops.
David Beatty has things moving in a direction, and he might be the first coach since Mark Mangino that actually wants to be in Lawrence.