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 2 grades:
Baker Mayfield – A: Everybody – even Mayfield – knew that he had to be better this week. It wasn’t just statistically, but he had to make much better decisions in the pocket. Although, one probably leads to the other in this case and Mayfield was sharp against Louisiana Monroe.
The most telling stat of Saturday’s action is that Mayfield didn’t have a single carry. He barely had to scramble, and he didn’t take a sack. His 14-for-20 performance wasn’t exactly Mayfield-style sharp, but it was really good, except for the fact that Austin Kendall was more accurate. Mayfield finished with three touchdowns and 244 yards, a fine performance to get his confidence, and the offense’s confidence, rolling again.
Offensive play-calling – A: Speaking of confidence, Oklahoma Sooners offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley looked like he finally believed in Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine again. After the forgettable season opener, Perine and Mixon combined for a total of 24 carries and 176 yards against ULM. Quick math puts that at more than seven yards per carry.
Mixon and Perine combined for 12 carries (the game total against Houston) through the first 12 minutes of the game, and after 13 minutes, Oklahoma had more rushing yards as a team than they did in the entire game last week.
On top of that, Riley mixed in some nice play-action passes. He set up Mark Andrews’ touchdown nicely, and Dimitri Flowers’ disguised leak in the first quarter was a thing of beauty. Riley had all the weapons firing Saturday.
Parrish Cobb – C+: Cobb was better, which is about the only reason that he gets an above average grade. Playing in just his second collegiate game and making his first start, Cobb was still the noticeable weak link on defense. He had one busted coverage for a long touchdown, and another long score that looked like it was his fault – but it was actually Will Sunderland’s bust.
Cobb was better, though. His coverage was generally tighter, and he tackled better in his second go-round. It’s unclear who will start against Ohio State – although it seems unlikely that Dakota Austin will get the call. Cobb was better, but it might not be better enough.
Offensive line – B+: In the first half, the offensive line was about as good as it could be – see Mayfield sack total (0) and Mixon/Perine’s rushing average. Oklahoma offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh seems to have found the right mix after inserting Bobby Evans into the starting lineup and moving Dru Samia to guard. It looked, at least on Saturday, that the best five offensive linemen were on the field.
Not only did Oklahoma not allow a sack, but Mayfield – outside of one occasion – rarely had to even think about leaving the pocket. He definitely had a different level of comfort than one week earlier against Houston.
Ultimately, we have to grade out the entire game, so he second unit gets a ding here.