Too many penalties, too little pass rush and lots of self-inflicted adversity.
NORMAN — Oklahoma pulled away for a 28-11 victory over SMU Saturday night. Here’s the rapid reaction from Sellout Crowd.
More pass rush, fewer untimely penalties
Jenni Carlson: Even though it was a tighter fit than many expected, the Sooners ultimately reigned in the Mustangs. But there were teachable moments, as the coaches say.
*Too many untimely penalties. The OU defense had three big penalties on the SMU possession that gave the Mustangs life, the touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Defensive pass interference on fourth down. Sideline interference that moved SMU into the red zone. Another defensive pass interference in the end zone. Then the Sooners had a touchdown called back on an ineligible-player-downfield penalty.
*Not enough of a pass rush. After less-than-stellar production against Arkansas State, the OU pass rush wasn’t much better against SMU. SMU quarterback Preston Stone took advantage.
And then there was Tawee Walker. I’ll be writing more on the Sooner running back, but wow, he’s establishing himself as the feature back. When he got the nod as the starter in the opener, I thought it might have been done more to signal to the rest of the running backs that they needed to get with it. But no. Walker is legit.
Sooners gotta get to work
Guerin Emig: The Sooners can take stock in an inspired defensive effort against a typically explosive SMU offense, with a defensive two-deep that has stepped up in class.
They have a keeper in walk-on running back Tawee Walker and deep receiving corps that might not have a star, but can make timely difference-making plays.
So there are bright spots. The brightest is the most obvious: the Sooners are 2-0 headed to Tulsa next week.
There are just as many sore spots.
OU’s 73-0 stroll over Arkansas State gave fans a false sense of the Sooners’ improved strength at the line of scrimmage. That was not nearly as apparent against SMU.
OU’s offensive line protected Gabriel well, but Walker had to work very hard for his yards. The Sooners’ defensive line had moments, but not enough to throw SMU QB Preston Stone off stride often enough.
The Sooners missed more tackles than they did against Arkansas State. They dropped several more passes. Again, some bad mixed with good on both sides of the ball.
A (small) reality check in Norman
Eli Lederman: Dillon Gabriel and the OU pass catchers were disjointed at times. The run game struggled when Tawee Walker wasn’t carrying the ball. The Sooners plagued themselves with untimely penalties. The pass rush lacked an edge once again. Even a secondary filled with encouraging individual performances conceded six plays of 15 yards or more.
There were bright spots, too. Walker was impressive. Andrel Anthony sure seems like he’ll be a big part of the passing attack. Peyton Bowen clearly is a playmaker for the present and future.
The Sooners have plenty to clean up against Tulsa in Week 2 before they open conference play at Cincinnati on Sept. 23.
They weren’t all going to end 73-0.
Oklahoma big men disappoint
Todd Lisenbee: Success in football hinges on the battles at the line of scrimmage. Today, neither Sooner lines met the mark.
The current defensive line lacks the intimidation factor, struggling to secure 1 on 1 victories in pass rush against less challenging opponents. Offensive lines they will face in conference will be significantly better.
Tonight, coupled with Lebby’s lackluster playcalling and frequent penalties, Oklahoma’s offense seemed more suited for a mid-table finish than the top spot. There’s a long season ahead with ample room for improvement, especially with the SEC challenge on the horizon. The clock is ticking for the Sooners.
Ed Murray: You would expect a little adversity with the big step up in competition. Brent Venables told the TV audience at halftime he was happy with how his team handled adversity. But that 14-3 lead dropped to just 3 early in the fourth as the Sooners created a little more adversity for themselves.
Too many major penalties. A pair of pass interference calls helped SMU complete a 71-yard drive to make it 14-11 with 12 minutes to play. OU responded, finally looking like the quick-strike offense fans love. But even in answering with a 75-yard drive… a couple of penalties threatened to short-circuit the effort, including wiping away a beautiful touchdown.
The offense overcame that adversity. Jalil Farooq with fantastic moves after the catch for the score. And that pretty much ended the adversity, if not the penalties. Oops, there’s yellow on the field again.