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 12 grades:
Baker Mayfield – B+: There have been games this season when Mayfield’s individual numbers have outshined his overall team accomplishments – throwing for hundreds of yards and multiple touchdowns while the Sooners’ success was not excellent. Saturday was the opposite of that.
Mayfield had less than 300 yards of total offense and scored just three touchdowns, but he led Oklahoma to its most impressive overall win of the season. Oklahoma State took away most of Mayfield’s big-play chances, so he beat the underneath with his legs and his arms.
Mayfield’s successes were small. The inches he won with proper decision-making and subtle cuts in the scramble game triggered big results.
Pass rush – B-: The main job of the pass rush is to get to the quarterback, and Oklahoma didn’t get to J.W. Walsh one time. The Sooners had only four quarterback hurries – three at the hands of Eric Striker, who had one of the more active yet statistically unimpressive games of his career.
What the pass rush did to was keep Walsh, a quarterback not known for his arm, off balance. When Oklahoma State tried to run out of the backfield with Walsh alongside a running back, it was quickly swallowed up. The Sooners didn’t get to Walsh, but the designed pass rush helped them hold Oklahoma State to 132 rushing yards.
Jordan Thomas – A: While Thomas’ counterpart Zack Sanchez struggled with his footing and what most Oklahoma fans would call a little excessive physicality from James Washington in particular, Thomas was great.
He had two interceptions and is making a strong case for All-Big 12 this year and some All-American nominations next year. Thomas also had six tackles.
Outside of Washington, only one Oklahoma State receiver had a catch of more than 10 yards.
Both broke runs of at least 65 yards against the Cowboys. Neither put the ball on the ground even once – in a light rainstorm and pretty cold conditions.
They combined for 267 yards and four touchdowns, averaging more than eight yards per carry. Both showed an elite combination of speed and power as Perine actually went over 3,000 career rushing yards in the game.
With the ball, they were great but also showed a penchant for blocking. This tandem was already regarded as one of the best in the nation. If there’s a better duo than Perine-Mixon, they aren’t playing on television much at all.
Offensive line – A+: Remember this offensive line from a month ago. You shouldn’t. It’s not the same line.
Oklahoma made the call to go young after the loss to Texas, and it’s paying off now. Dru Samia, Orlando Brown and Jonathan Alvarez always had the most potential of the possible starters and it’s no longer potential.
Oklahoma’s offensive line allowed just two sacks to one of the best pass rushes in the nation – and with Mayfield playing quarterback – but averaged more than eight yards per carry, even with the sacks figured into the total.
You didn’t think it could happen early in the season, but this is a Big 12 Championship offensive line.