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Instant Analysis: OU beats WVU 44-24

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With the first conference game in the books, the Sooners improved to 4-0 on the season after beating West Virginia 44-24 in Norman. Here’s the instant analysis of what went down.

The Sooners won because..

OU made explosive plays throughout the game, especially when it mattered most. OU averaged a whopping 22.9 yards per reception through the first three quarters, and the defining moment of the game came on a 71-yard touchdown reception by Durron Neal to close out the third frame.

The defense also got in on the explosive action. Jordan Thomas had two interceptions in his return from suspension and Ahmad Thomas had a pick as well, while both Matt Dimon and Eric Striker forced fumbles while sacking WVU quarterback Skyler Howard. Jordan Evans was able to recover Striker’s strip and return it for a long touchdown in the fourth quarter to put the icing on the cake.  

The Sooners will need more big plays like this as they continue conference play.

What could’ve gone better?

The Sooners have to be more disciplined. They were flagged seven times in the first quarter for a total of 85 yards, and most of those penalty yards came on the Mountaineers fifth possession where they scored their only touchdown of the first half.

Defensive players weren’t the only ones with mental errors. OU’s offense appeared to be thriving towards the end of the first quarter before Dede Westbrook was called for a personal foul penalty that seemed to start the chain reaction.

OU also struggled to get going in the second half of the game. After a dominating the first half, the Sooners must find a way to put together four solid quarters.

Game ball

There were a lot of standout players in this contest, but Jordan Thomas and Eric Striker really set the tone throughout the game. It was clear the secondary missed the presence of Thomas during the matchup with Tulsa, and he made up for his absence with two interceptions against the Mountaineers.

Striker played with energy from the start of the game, and it was contagious for the rest of the OU defense. It seemed like Striker was involved on nearly every play and his strip-sack in the fourth quarter put the game away.  

What’s next?

In one of the biggest weekends of the year, OU will travel to the Cotton Bowl to square off with Texas in the Red River Rivalry game. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m.   

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