Sooners Illustrated hands out grades and evaluations after a Week 1 loss to Houston

OU's showing was filled with average performances and underwhelming showings.

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 1 grades:

Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Will Johnson – C: There were some bright spots, like Okoronkwo’s two tackles for loss and Johnson’s team-leading 10 tackles and a forced fumble. Okoronkwo also had three quarterback hurries and a sack, showing a knack for getting to the quarterback.

There was enough bad that even an average grade might seem a little bit generous. Okoronkwo looked lost on more plays than he had success on and was a major liability in pass coverage. Johnson made plenty of tackles, but he also missed plenty of tackles. Houston was able to take advantage of the undersized linebacker on more than one occasion.

Jonathan Alvarez and the offensive line – D+: Alvarez is starting in his second year and is a three-year veteran for OklahomaEd Oliver is a true freshman – albeit a five-star freshman – who was playing in his first collegiate game. Oliver dominated Alvarez at just about every turn. And that was just the heart of Oklahoma’s offensive line issues that clearly aren’t as clear as many were led to believe.

Alvarez got beat, and Cody Ford didn’t look much like a player who won a starting spot in preseason camp. Even Dru Samia looked a step slow after adding 20 pounds in the offseason. Oklahoma averaged 2.7 yards per carry. Baker Mayfield was sacked five times, and while the offensive line only truly allowed one of those sacks, Mayfield never looked comfortable.  What responsibility does the offensive line have if not to make its quarterback comfortable?

Offensive play-calling – D: Although he was clearly injured, Samaje Perine had just six carries – the second-fewest of his career, behind the loss to Baylor two years ago when he had just five carries. Joe Mixon also had just six carries, and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley all but abandoned the run game pretty quickly.

Oklahoma had 13 designed run plays to almost 40 passes, and Riley couldn’t get any rhythm going with a limited numbers of plays in the first half.

By the end of the game, Riley looked lost and Oklahoma had no answer offensively. They have just six points in the last two combined second halves.

QB contain gameplan – C-: Houston quarterback Greg Ward only rushed for 30 yards, so that must be a victory, right? Well, it would have been if Oklahoma was only counting first and second downs. Houston went 9-for-17 on third downs, and a big reason for that was Oklahoma’s inability to contain Ward on third downs.

Ward didn't always scramble, but he always bought time to make places. His receivers broke away from the secondary after almost six seconds of coverage. Ward frustrated Oklahoma’s pass rush into a handful of penalties that moved the chains as well.

There were positives to take moving forward, but there were negatives as well. Overall, it was a slightly below average showing because Oklahoma just didn’t get the job done.

Secondary – B-: The first half didn’t come with many positives: Missed tackles, lots of points and lots of yards. Ward threw for 321 yards in the air, but Oklahoma allowed just 73 yards in the second half, which is a huge improvement for the first 30 minutes.

Dakota Austin struggled and his back-up, Parrish Cobb, didn't fair much better against Houston receiver Steven Dunbar, who caught seven passes and 125 yards.

Jordan Thomas was solid, Steven Parker was good and Ahmad Thomas was a lynchpin.

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