Rhett Bomar made enough plays today to justify some of the hype that has surrounded him since his arrival at Oklahoma. But he also made some of the same plays that have frustrated OU coaches since the spring. Such erratic play is to be expected of a redshirt freshman in just his second college start.
On the upside, Bomar ran well, picking up key yardage and eventually a touchdown run. After a shaky start, he gained a rhythm in the passing game, moving the ball and finding receivers downfield. Still, after three games, an OU quarterback has not thrown a touchdown pass.
On the downside, his fumbles were once again key to a Sooner loss. One directly resulted in a touchdown that gave UCLA early second half momentum. His errant pitch on fourth down to Adrian Peterson was the final nail in the Sooners coffin. And his failure to handle a perfect shotgun snap early in the game pinned the team at the goal line.
Add to that two more missed exchanges on the snap under center and it was still a spotty performance, but one that gives more hope than has been seen at any time this year.
Adrian Peterson is already beaten up three games into the season. He had very little running room most of the day and got into trouble a couple of times trying to make something out of nothing. He made a great downfield block on Travis Wilson's early touchdown on a reverse, and had a determined run on his third quarter touchdown. But it was not a great day for Peterson overall, as he fumbled to set up a UCLA score, and was unable to break any runs longer than his 11-yard score.
Jacob Gutierrez once again made the most of his limited opportunities with a nice run, Kejuan Jones was ineffective in limited duty and there was a Donta Hickson sighting in this game.
Travis Wilson finally broke out in this game. He got started early on the 56-yard touchdown run on the reverse, then managed to get open repeatedly on pass plays. The Sooner senior also made his first play this year where he went up and outfought the defensive back for the ball. His seven catches for 103 yards are something OU needs in every game to have success. But if he is also the team's leading rusher, as he was today, that is not a good sign.
The tight ends, Bubba Moses and Joe Jon Finley, finally got involved in the passing game and made some key catches and runs. Freshman Juaquin Iglesias was solid in his first extensive action, catching three passes.
Quentin Chaney had a disappointing outing, failing to get both hands up on a possible touchdown pass in the second quarter and dropping another ball later.
Even though the Sooners did manage to out gain the Bruins (by one yard), it was not a stellar day for the offensive line. They weren't able to provide any blocking on the outside for Peterson and they were unable to account for Bruins linebackers Justin London and Spencer Havner.
In yet another switch, Kelvin Chaisson got the start at left tackle, so coaches are still trying to settle on a lineup. Bomar had to scramble a number of times and was sacked three times on the day.
The line must start getting some blocks at the line of scrimmage, or both Peterson and Bomar may not last the entire season.
Grade - C
It was Jeckyl and Hyde day for the front line defenders. For three and a half quarters, they absolutely stuffed the Bruins run game, before allowing a couple of big runs late. Still, for the third week in a row, they held the opposition to less than three yards a carry.
But the inability to get a pass rush on Drew Olsen allowed him to look like an all-star. The lack of pressure let him pick apart the secondary and throw for three touchdown passes.
Dusty Dvoracek made some plays in the backfield, but the rest of the defensive front was held in check.
Had it not been for the fourth quarter collapse, the grade would have been better.
Once again tough on the run. DeMario Pleasant had a solid game replacing the injured Clint Ingram and was robbed of a big interception on a phantom holding call in the fourth quarter.
Rufus Alexander again has some big hits, but got lost in pass coverage on occasion. Zach Latimer was not a factor in either facet of the game.
Grade: B –
OU's secondary is still looking for it's first takeaway after three games. That should give you an indication of how open UCLA's receivers were in this game.
Part of that can be blamed on the lack of a consistent pass rush, as mentioned above, but only Chijioke Onyenegetcha got close enough to break up a pass, and the Sooners defensive backs continually had to catch up with the Bruins receivers.
Reggie Smith appeared to play adequately in his first start at safety. Other than that, it was the worst day of the year for the OU defensive backfield.
Nothing too special about these units today. It started with Lendy Holmes badly misjudging a punt, leading to UCLA's first touchdown, continued with more penalties on runbacks and concluded with Garrett Hartley missing a short field goal.
Reggie Smith did provide one of the few bright spots with a 43-yard kickoff return, as he averaged just under 25 yards per runback. After Holmes' miscue, Jejuan Rankins was brought back to return punts and had one for 15 yards.
Cody Freeby averaged over 45 yards a kick, getting a favorable roll on one effort, and his kicks, although not aesthetically beautiful, certainly aren't being returned.
Hartley did hit a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter, but so far this season, he has been somewhat inconsistent.
OU-UCLA Grade Card
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