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More Thoughts On OU's Comeback Win In Knoxville

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee -

Saturday night's matchup between OU and Tennessee sure was entertaining. Here are some more thoughts about what went down. 

Mayfield Madness

During three quarters of play, a lot of Sooner fans could’ve given up on Baker Mayfield after OU totaled a measly three points with only eight minutes left on the clock, but luckily Bob Stoops elected to stick with the quarterback who continued to ooze confidence.

Mayfield’s play in crunch time not only won the Sooner’s the game, but gave everyone around the program hope that this team could do something special with him under center. Countless times throughout the game the pocked around him closed in so quickly that Mayfield was forced to scramble in less than two seconds, and fortunately he displayed his fearless mentality by not getting tackled at first contact and fighting to keep plays alive for his team.

It’s hard to not see a Johnny Manziel resemblance in Mayfield. He may not be as active off the field as Johnny Football, but Mayfield definitely exhibits the same poise and desire to win on the field as the former Heisman trophy winner. If Mayfield continues to spread Sooner Magic throughout the season, then don’t be surprised if you continually hear people make that comparison.

Defensive game plan a success 

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops opted to play a three-man front against the Vols with both Erik Striker and Devante Bond creating havoc off the edge. It was decision that worked out well for the Sooners, while giving the national audience a chance to see what Bond was made of.

Bond was undoubtedly the defensive MVP for OU due to his relentless pass rush. Mike Stoops was dialing up different blitzes and twists throughout the evening, and that type of game plan is perfect for Bond, who uses his size and quickness to stay low to the ground and beat opposing offensive tackles off the line of scrimmage.

It’ll be interesting to see how much the Sooners use that defensive front moving forward.

Striker backs it up

Everyone heard what Striker had to say about the SEC before the game, especially the Tennessee Volunteers, who had his quotes laminated and posted throughout the entire facility leading up to the game. If Strikers' original comments weren’t enough, the pass rushing specialist was just as vocal after OU completed its miraculous comeback on Saturday night. Striker was seen celebrating the win by yelling and taunting the Tennessee fans that filled Neyland Stadium.

Oklahoma fans thought nothing of the celebration, because Striker had a right to celebrate a big road win, but apparently Vols' head coach Butch Jones didn’t like what he saw. Striker said that Jones approached him on the field after the game and complimented him as a player, but told him to get some class.

Those types of comments only add fuel to the OU vs. SEC rivalry.

Sterling Shepard is elite

Everyone saw how the offense struggled in the first three quarters, but OU turned to Mayfield and Shepard when the game mattered most in the fourth quarter. Play after play, Shepard was getting the job done and leading the Sooners down the field with his playmaking ability.

Shepard scored the game tying and game winning touchdown, but even before that, he set the Sooners up for success with a sideline grab that kept a crucial fourth quarter drive alive. Another big Shepard play that may go unnoticed came on the first play of overtime, when Shepard hauled in a 19 yard pass over the middle to get OU to the five-yard line, which led to a Mayfield score a few plays later on fourth and goal to force a second overtime.

Shepard will be making impact plays for the Sooners all season, but his two touchdown performance on Saturday night against the Vols will always be remembered when reminiscing on his time in an OU jersey.

What could’ve been

It’s cool to win in overtime and all that, but if a pivotal call earlier in the second half would’ve gone the Sooners’ way, the extra time may have not been necessary. Steven Parker stripped Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs and scooped up the ball and appeared to sprint free for a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Sooners, who at the time desperately needed a game changing moment, the play was called dead before the strip due to forward progress.

Big Game Bob was irate on the sidelines, but there was nothing the 17-year coach could do. A couple of plays later the Sooners had another chance for a scoop and score, but once again the play was botched. While Charles Tapper attempted to grab the ball while still running, the defensive end whiffed, and Tennessee was able to recover its own fumble.

Those were a couple of plays that didn’t go OU’s way, but at the end of the day it all worked out.

Next up: Tulsa. 

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