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 11 grades:
Charles Tapper and Charles Walker – A: This is becoming quite the dominant pass-rushing pair, and who would have thought that before this season? Tapper had just come off one of the worst possible years for a defensive lineman, and Walker had all the potential in the world, but it was still just potential.
They combined to force a turnover and two sacks Saturday night.
Think about this. Last year, Oklahoma's defensive line had 11 sacks. This year, Tapper and Walker alone have combined for 13 already. Under the tutelage of first-year defensive line coach Diron Reynolds, Oklahoma’s best pass-rushing duo has made a big impact.
Jordan Evans – B+: There are times when Evans jumps off the screen – or the field or from wherever you’re watching. He has elite athleticism, and against TCU, that shined through on multiple occasions.
He isn’t always perfect, but he had two pass break-ups against the Horned Frogs and made seven tackles. Both of his pass break-ups came at the line of scrimmage and stopped what would have been big plays for TCU. Those plays weren’t quite as big as Steven Parker’s tip on the last play, but when they happened, they were key.
Trevor Knight – D+: After the win, Lincoln Riley still stuck with the story that Knight and Baker Mayfield were neck-and-neck in the quarterback race during the preseason. But watching Knight on Saturday night ,that idea seems almost impossible.
He could do nothing against TCU and constantly looked down every receiver. Off the field, he’s a great guy, the best teammate anyone could ask for and a true leader for Oklahoma. On the field, Knight went 5-for-16 for 76 yards and threw one killer interception when the Sooners were trying to hold on.
Oklahoma needs Mayfield back to have a chance against Oklahoma State.
Offensive line – B: TCU’s defensive game plan changed drastically when Oklahoma lost Mayfield. They blitzed constantly and manned up on the outside. Oklahoma couldn’t make them pay.
With Mayfield in the game, the offensive line was once again impressively stout. They allowed three sacks, something that Bob Stoops is willing to accept so Oklahoma fans should as well. But they also averaged 7.1 yards per carry on running plays.
But you can’t just forget about the second half.
Zack Sanchez – A-: Sanchez continues to collect his own personal stash of game-changing plays. It’s getting pretty big.
He was gifted a pair of interceptions against TCU on Saturday, but it’s still his job to come down with them. He did just that. The ball finds him – and in a positive way for Oklahoma.
He jumped a slant route that was tipped off from TCU quarterback Foster Sawyer – a great read and a great play by Sanchez but a ball that never should have been thrown. He jumped for an under-thrown go route later in the second quarter. It shouldn’t have been there, but Sanchez still had to go up and get it.
They were bad passes and a little bit of it was luck, but Sanchez still made those big plays. At the end of the day, someone still has to capitalize on bad decisions.
Both turnovers turned into points for Oklahoma in what could have been Sanchez’s last game at Owen Field. Plus, he’s making some really nice tackles in the open field on screens and quick passes.