Heading into the season, most figured Dede Westbrook was going to be the No. 1 target for Oklahoma. The number of catches said he had been for the first three games, but the big-time plays suggested otherwise.
That all changed for Westbrook and for the Sooners in a 52-46 victory at TCU on Saturday evening. Westbrook hadn’t found the end zone in the initial three games but scored twice to help OU overcome a 14-point first quarter deficit.
On back-to-back possessions, Westbrook was able to find paydirt. The first came on a 67-yard flea-flicker with quarterback Baker Mayfield giving it to Joe Mixon before pitching it back to Mayfield. Westbrook was wide open down the middle of the field.
The very next possession saw Westbrook break free again, this time for a 40-yard score. You could still say the Sooners are searching for a Sterling Shepard-ish performer for 2016, but Westbrook showed signs of growing into that role Saturday.
OU wins the meaningful downs
One major way you’re able to win games is by staying on the field, obviously. The Sooners were able to do that against the Horned Frogs.
OU went 8-of-15 on third down compared to TCU. The Frogs went 8-of-19 on third and fourth down conversions.
The Sooners were 7-of-10 at one point as offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley had the answer for seemingly every question during the second and third quarters.
Converting third down isn’t always easy for the Sooners, but OU came up with some big ones and ended up with a 34:42-25:18 time of possession edge.
OU gets on the board
It had to happen eventually, right? OU earned its first interception of the season when Steven Parker picked off Kenny Hill in the first quarter.
The Sooners entered the game as one of seven programs who hadn’t recorded a pick during the first month of the season.
OU wasn’t able to snag another one, but there were times when it looked like the defensive backs were a cohesive unit. There were times when the group clearly struggled, too, but it was a confidence-building night even if the Frogs accumulated 514 yards of offense.
Obo a force off the edge
There has been a lot of talk about the struggles of OU’s secondary, but guys like linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo have been quick to point out they’re not doing their job.
That changed against Hill, especially with Okoronkwo. He had two sacks and six tackles, with no play(s) bigger than what he did during the final drive of the game.
After being down 21-7, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops made the necessary adjustment to bring more pressure. It sure felt like it was the right move with OU registering four sacks in the game and eight tackles for loss.