OU-Boise State Grade Card

See inside for Tony Sellars' position-by-position grades from OU's 43-42 loss to Boise State. Junior running back Adrian Peterson scored two touchdowns, but finished 73 yards short of Billy Sims' all-time Oklahoma rushing record after his lowest rushing output (77 yards) of the season. (AP Photo)

Paul Thompson fell victim to the typical Bowl syndrome. Players forget what got them to this point during the season and try to do things out of the ordinary. Thompson's first half saw him making desperation heaves that during the course of the regular season he wound have not made. It resulted in three interceptions, a season high, and blunted potential scoring drives. He also failed to get the ball to two open receivers deep, passes that would have resulted in touchdowns had the balls been on target.

But the Sooners would not have been in the game at the end without the leadership and clutch play of Thompson in the second half. He calmly led them downfield for the late fourth-quarter touchdown and made a tremendous adjustment to find Juaquin Iglesias for the game-tying two point conversion. Thompson also helped keep drives alive with his running on more than one occasion.

You can't take away the awful start that Thompson had, with a fumble in addition to the interceptions, but you also can't take away the fact that he hung in there and brought the Sooners back.

Grade: C-

Running Back
With Boise State keying on Adrian Peterson's every move, it was not a great night in AD's quest to break the OU career rushing record. Peterson looked to be healed and in great shape, but only on his two touchdown runs was he able to display his top form.

Allen Patrick actually had more consistent success during the course of the game and the Sooners were able to run some different plays when both Peterson and Patrick were in the game together.

Oklahoma's running game failed to awe the opponent and was not a key factor to the offensive success overall.

Grade: B-

Losing Malcolm Kelly early in the game had an effect on the Sooners passing game all night. Thompson couldn't seem to establish a rhythm with Quentin Chaney as the substitute for his favorite receiver. Chaney did make the game's biggest catch for OU, grabbing the deflection in the back of the end zone for the touchdown that allowed the Sooners to be in position to tie the game late in the fourth quarter.

Juaquin Iglesias stepped up and had his best game of the year, averaging 20 yards per catch and making the game-tying grab on the two-point conversion late. Iglesias also got a costly penalty for retaliating against some Boise State smack talk. The offense wound up preventing OU from retaining the football, since offsetting penalties were called, but it's questionable whether the official would have thrown the flag on Boise had Iglesias not made contact. It appeared the flag came after Iglesias' head butt.

Manuel Johnson had a crucial drop on the Sooners first possession. The play could have resulted in a first down and kept the opening drive alive. He came back to make several key plays.

Joe Jon Finley had an awful night, dropping an easy swing pass and missing blocks that led to a fumble and a big goal line loss for Peterson. Jermaine Gresham didn't get involved in the game until the final minutes, something that was a bit puzzling.

Grade: B-

Offensive Line
Hard to believe the Sooners didn't dominate given their size advantage over the Broncos, but the OU line didn't push Boise back all night. They did open holes on Peterson's final touchdown run and a couple of other occasions; still it was pretty much a stalemate most of the night.

After looking shaky in protection in the first half, they did a much better job of pass blocking in the final stages. Duke Robinson had a key false start that put the offense in a hole and Jon Cooper had a hold that pushed the Sooners back.

Oklahoma averaged more than four yards a carry, but couldn't consistently rip off long first down gains. A pretty average performance against an average defense.

Grade : C

Defensive Line
Oklahoma's front did a good job keeping Ian Johnson in check most of the night. They didn't generate that much pressure on Jared Zabransky and they weren't involved in that many tackles overall.

Larry Birdine had one athletic play when he jumped over a blocker and sacked the quarterback, but that was his only highlight. Cory Bennett also shared a sack with Rufus Alexander.

Overall, the defensive line was not a major factor in the game.

Grade: C

Rufus Alexander closed out his senior career by having his most productive statistical game, 14 solo tackles, 17 overall, a sack and a half and a forced fumble. He was clearly the top defensive player on the field.

The same could not be said for Zach Latimer. He was a step slow to the ball on several occasions, including the touchdown in overtime, and he missed several tackles, the most crucial on the fluke sideline heave by Zabransky late in the first half when Latimer muffed the tackle and the receiver ran all the way in for a score.

Curtis Lofton made a couple of important stops and was in the middle of things on special teams.

Grade: C

The Sooners did not show the aggressiveness in coverage that they had displayed down the stretch in the regular season. Marcus Walker's break on the ball for the interception and touchdown that put OU ahead late was one of the rare instances all night where they challenged the receiver.

Several times in the first half, OU had opportunities to intercept passes and couldn't deliver. Then late in the game, characterized by the not-to-lose coverage on the critical 4th and 18 play, OU was caught on their heels a number of times.

Reggie Smith was a non-factor in the game, Walker and Holmes were beaten on key plays, and the secondary took a step back in this contest.

Grade: D

Special Teams
The Sooners lost the field position battle several times due to the punting game. Michael Cohen's two 30 yard efforts in the first half helped Boise stay in relatively comfortable field position in the first half.

Kick coverage was solid as usual, with the Sooners keeping Boise inside the 20 on most kickoffs. OU's kickoff returns were weaker than normal, with both Iglesias and Smith showing hesitation on first half runbacks. Smith had one solid punt return in the game for 22 yards, but that was about it from the return game.

Garrett Hartley was solid on all extra points and field goals. His kickoffs usually reached the end zone, but he wasn't able to get them deep enough for touchbacks.

Grade: B-

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