Oklahoma Sooners shut down Oklahoma State quarterback run game

Learning from past failures, Oklahoma's defense makes changes on the fly to slow Cowboys attack

STILLWATER – Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike StoopsMike Stoops said he learns lessons from everything. On Saturday night, he took a lesson from one of his worst performances of the season to shut down Oklahoma State's  – thanks to a quick adjustment.

Texas gashed the Sooners with the quarterback run game. Stoops wouldn’t let it happen again, even after J.W. Walsh made an unexpected start for the Cowboys and played the majority of the game. A few minor tweaks to solve Oklahoma State’s five-receiver set – a look Stoops hadn’t seen from the Cowboys before – and Oklahoma had a defense scheme that could stop Oklahoma State.

“It took a while to figure out what was what: How they were going to use him, what they were going to do,” Stoops said of Walsh. “They went empty. They went a lot of 5-wides. They’d never done that. We made adjustments to our calls. We baited them into a couple things and started pressuring them and they got out of it. It just took a while to get a rhythm or the game.”

Oklahoma State scored on two of its first three possessions before scoring just three more times the rest of the game. The Sooners (11-1, 8-1) used man coverage on the outside and heavy blitz packages, including letting linebacker Eric Striker free to rush quite often, to stop Walsh, who ran for just 50 yards.

Mason Rudolph didn’t play but a few snaps for the Cowboys, so Stoops said it was difficult to adjust to Walsh running Oklahoma State’s entire offensive package and not just the run-oriented attack.

But he figured it out pretty quickly.

“It just took a little bit of time,” Stoops said. “We start dot finally find our rhythm late in the first quarter, then we started to really get a groove ands tart to feel the game better. It just takes time. . . . We adjusted. You’ve got to have enough in your defense to be able to adjust accordingly to what they are going to emphasize that day.”

Oklahoma finished with two interceptions and five tackles for loss.

Baker ready to go

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield had done enough sitting out last year, when all he could do was run the Sooners’ scout team. He was determined to get back on the field quickly this week without altering the way he plays after suffering a concussion just a week earlier.

“I was more hungry this week than I had been all just because I hate sitting out,” Mayfield said. “I went through that enough. I sat out last year. I was pretty ready to come back.”

Mayfield threw for just 180 yards. He rushed for 77 yards and was unafraid to make plays in open space and dodge tacklers.

“People kind of asked me how I was doing. I kind of got sick of the questions: How’s your head?” Mayfield said. “All that. I’m fine. I feel good. We just won.”

Ross finally breaks a big return

Oklahoma came into Saturday night’s game ranked 111th in the nation kick-off returns. After take two kick-offs  back for touchdowns last year, Sooners’ return man Alex Ross had a long return of 28 yards this season.

When Oklahoma State got on the scoreboard first after its second drive, Ross finally found a seam and returned it to the four-yard line.

“It’s a young group,” Ross said. “We finally had to get everybody just believing that they could do their job. Finally.”

The return helped kick-start a furious first half for Oklahoma that included 44 points. Ross was hurt on the play and said after the game that he thought he had a chest contusion or broke a rib.

Ross returned three more kicks before the end of the game.

“I can take pain like that,” he said.

Big playmakers

Samaje Perine isn’t exactly built for long break-away runs. The 230-plus pound running back is more of a bruiser, but he ran away from tacklers for a 68-yard touchdown in the first quarter. It was his fifth touchdown this season of more than 50 yards.

Four plays later, fellow running Joe Mixon busted a 66-yard touchdown.

The last time Oklahoma had two touchdown runs of at least 60 yards by two different players was 2013 – Damien Williams and Brennan Clay.

“A nice pocket”

Bob Stoops watched the weather all week as it dumped freezing temperatures and rain across the state. He was pretty sure Oklahoma would face the same in Stillwater.

Instead, the rain subsided as the team bus approached Boone Pickens Stadium. Outside of the cold, weather played very little factor in the 35-point victory for Oklahoma.

“Once you walked out on the field, it couldn’t have been any better,” Stoops said. “It was colder and windier last time we were here. We hit a nice pocket here than couldn’t have been a more pleasant day play.”

Oklahoma didn’t turn the ball over once, and Oklahoma State had just one fumble, which it recovered.

Ogbah’s last gasp

After all of Oklahoma State’s seniors were introduced prior to the final home game of their careers, Cowboys’ defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah was honored – as a junior. It was clear he was plying his last game at Boone Pickens Stadium. He went out with a relative whimper.

Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown was locked up with Ogbah for most of the game with right tackle Dru Samia facing the potential All-American just a couple of plays.

Ogbah had one sack and a quarterback hurry.

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