It was a shaky for first time starter Rhett Bomar. He fumbled two snaps from center, had two passes intercepted and was sacked twice on the opening drive of the third quarter, prompting coaches to call only one more pass play the rest of the half. And on that one, he wound up scrambling for his longest gain of the day, 15 yards. As it turned out, Bomar never got a pass off in the second half.
The overall numbers were ugly - 5 of 13 passing for 42 yards and two interceptions, six carries for -13 yards - but the final result was a victory.
Bomar's best pass came on the opening touchdown drive, hitting Travis Wilson for his only catch of the day for 10 yards on a third and five to keep the drive alive. He also missed badly on a deep out route to an open Quentin Chaney and crossed wires with Chaney on another route where the receiver cut to the inside and the throw went to the outside into double coverage, almost getting picked off.
A win is a win, but the overall performance wasn't much better than the opener.
Grade: C –
At halftime, Adrian Peterson had just 40 yards on 13 carries and appeared to be headed to another frustrating day. But in the second half, he seemed to take the whole team on his shoulders and willed himself to some big games in key situations, including the game breaker on a 4th and 1 where he broke it 41 yards for a score on his longest run of the year. Peterson wound up with 222 yards, 182 in the second half on 19 carries, and showed that, if given at least a crack to run through, he can usually make good things happen.
Kejuan Jones spelled Peterson on a couple of series and managed one 10 yard gain in his seven carries, finishing with 29 yards on seven attempts, less than three yards a carry.
Peterson also caught a couple of passes for 17 yards, giving him 34 touches on OU's 58 offensive plays.
Not much to talk about here. Wilson made a key catch on the opening drive and that was it. He had another pass in the first quarter go right through his hands.
Chaney had just one catch for nine yards, and as mentioned earlier, looked to be open on a deep out, but didn't appear to run a precise route. And it will be for the coaches to decide who was at fault on another route where Bomar threw into double coverage when Chaney made an inside move.
Jejuan Rankins was noticeably absent from the action as Lendy Holmes took his spot in the rotation.
With no passes thrown in the second half, the receivers were left to block for Peterson's runs.
Depleted and downtrodden, it looked like the offensive line would put up a repeat performance of the TCU game when, at halftime, they had helped account for only 92 yards on 30 plays.
In the second half, called on almost exclusively to block on running plays for Peterson, they provided enough room for the Sooners star to break the game open. For the final few series, OU sported two freshman offensive tackles, Brandon Braxton and Duke Robinson and a redshirt freshman, J.D. Quinn, at guard. Davin Joseph started at guard, saw action briefly back at tackle, and will be counted on the rest of the year to anchor a very inexperienced group.
Chris Chester had problems with the snap at center on two occasions, leading to two Rhett Bomar fumbles and another low snap in the shotgun.
It was a slight improvement, at least in the second half, over the opening game performance, but not by a large margin.
Frustrated by their inability to get to Tulsa quarterback Paul Smith for most of the game, the Sooners front wall had to pride themselves on the fact that they held the Golden Hurricane under a hundred yards on the ground and just 2.5 per carry.
C.J. Ah You was the most active on the rush, recording one sack and two other tackles for losses. Freshman Alan Davis also made a big play in the second half, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Ah-You. Dusty Dvoracek got the start this week, but was not a dominant presence. Penalties drawn by Ah-You and Calvin Thibodeaux on plays where the Soooners had stopped Tulsa helped keep the Golden Hurricane's only touchdown drive alive.
Not a bad effort for the defensive line, but nothing to put in the scrapbook either.
Rufus Alexander was all over the field, recording 11 tackles, four of them for losses, and recording the hit of the day that literally knocked out Tulsa running back Tarrion Adams. Clint Ingram once again fought off cramps to seal the victory with a 48-yard touchdown return after an interception. Zach Latimer also picked up nine tackles, as the starters played almost exclusively.
In pass coverage, the linebackers had their hands full with Tulsa tight end Garrett Mills, who caught 13 passes. And even with numerous blitzes to help with the pass rush, they were only able to get to Smith once. Again, there is room for improvement here.
The defensive backs also had no answer for Mills and spent most of the afternoon chasing him down after receptions.
D.J. Wolfe was the most aggressive player in the secondary, leading the team in tackles with a dozen - four of them for losses- forcing a fumble and even getting a sack on the blitz. Lewis Baker probably saved a touchdown, even though he received a holding call after being faked out by Mills on the out and up. As it turned out, Tulsa only picked up a field goal on the drive.
Even though they did not give up a touchdown through the air, they allowed Smith to rack up 246 yards and complete 67% of his passes.
Grade: B –
After the game, Bob Stoops commented that he thought the special teams played good. But the Sooners effort still wasn't as crisp as it needs to be.
Cody Freeby did average 50 yards a kick on his five efforts, after starting with a 24 yarder into the wind. Freeby got a break on his next effort, a 60-yard boot that got a 15-yard boosted when the inexperienced returner Mills let it roll. But there was nothing bogus about his 70-yard effort in the third quarter.
Garrett Hartley was good on his only field goal effort, but still needs to get stronger on kickoffs. Kick coverage was once again a highlight for the Sooners as they held Tulsa under 20 yards per kickoff return.
Returns were once again a sore spot, as the Sooners had solid returns nullified twice by penalties on kickoffs. Lendy Holmes has apparently replaced Rankins on punt returns, but he was unable to provide any spark there.
I hate to argue with the head man, but I want to see more out of the special teams, especially on returns.
OU-Tulsa Grade Card
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