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Sooners: More Thoughts On OU's Win Over Tulsa

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OU beat Tulsa 52-38 on Saturday, and here's a few more thoughts on the win.  

No Jordan Thomas

Starting cornerback Jordan Thomas wasn’t with the team on Saturday, and his absence was a bit questioning since Thomas had practiced all week leading up to the game. Stoops didn’t go into detail about the suspension, but the coach did say Thomas violated team rules.

“He let the team down. I’m not going to go into it, but that hurt us,” Stoops said.

P.J. Mbanasor filled in for Thomas, but the true freshman was picked on early and often. Tulsa receiver, Josh Atkinson, used his size to dominate Mbanasor, and the cornerback was eventually replaced by Marcus Green towards the end of the third quarter.

Stoops said he would know on Monday if Thomas would be allowed to remain on the team.

Emergence of Mark Andrews

In 2008, when OU last went to a national championship game, the Sooners relied heavily on the tight end position. Jermaine Gresham was a vital part of the passing game, totaling 950 yards and 14 touchdowns that season.

Oklahoma football fans had flashbacks of that incredible year when they watched the emergence of Mark Andrews against Tulsa on Saturday. The workhorse of a tight end was active throughout the game, hauling in three catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

Each of Andrews’ touchdown receptions was far from ordinary. The first score came in the second quarter when Mayfield connected with Andrews across the middle, and the 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman showcased his deceptive speed and accelerated to the endzone.

The second touchdown came in the third quarter after Mayfield avoided a sack by rolling left out of the pocket, juked a Hurricane defender, then found Andrews on the left side of the field, who’d broken away from his defender and rumbled in for the score.

It would be preposterous to assume Andrews will contribute Gresham-like numbers all season, but it’s a positive sign to see Lincoln Riley utilize all of his offensive weapons.

O-line and Perine started slow, but finished big

Without captains Ty Darlington at center and Nila Kasitati at guard, OU’s already suspect front line got even more questionable against Tulsa. The Sooners put together a makeshift line by moving Jonathan Alvarez over from guard to center, and slotted Derek Farniok at Alvarez’s normal guard spot. Jamal Danley filled in most of the night for Kasitati.

Early on in the game, it appeared OU would suffer from blocking problems yet again. OU running backs only had seven rushing yards through one quarter, and it appeared Semaje Perine had no room to run.

As the game went on, the blocking began to improve, along with Perine’s stats. The running back finished the game with 152 yards on the ground along with a touchdown. Mayfield also had a good game running the ball, racking up a career-high 85 rushing yards.

Tulsa provided a test for what’s to come

Along with gaining a tally in the win column on Saturday, the Sooners also gained valuable experience competing against a high-paced offense.

The Golden Hurricane torched the Sooners secondary for 427 yards passing, while TU running back Zack Langer bruised his way for 161 yards on the ground. The defensive performance wasn’t what Sooner fans wanted to see, but the experience gained against Tulsa will pay off when they begin conference play and have to compete against similar offenses.

One of the more notable “Air Raid” teams in the Big 12 is No. 5 Baylor, and they host the Sooners on November 14. While Tulsa’s receiver combo of Keyarris Garrett and Keevan Lucas are very good, Baylor’s duo of Corey Coleman and KD Cannon are even better.

The Sooner defense failed to meet expectations against Tulsa, but at the end of the day they’re better for it. 

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