OU vs. Kent State football: Five takeaways from Sooners' win against Golden Flashes

NORMAN — It took OU a bit to get going, but the Sooners finally started looking like the team that won its opener by late in the second quarter against Kent State on Saturday at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

The Sooners avoided the upset bug that went around college football, knocking off the Golden Flashes 33-3.

Before the focus turns to next week’s game at Nebraska, here are five takeaways from the Sooners’ win:

More:Marvin Mims sets a career high & more stats from Oklahoma football's win over Kent State

Oklahoma's Marvin Mims (17) celebrates his touchdown pass in the second quarter during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma and the Kent State Golden Flashes at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept., 10, 2022.
Oklahoma's Marvin Mims (17) celebrates his touchdown pass in the second quarter during the college football game between the University of Oklahoma and the Kent State Golden Flashes at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept., 10, 2022.

Marvin Mims’ career game

Marvin Mims has had some memorable games during his two-plus seasons in Norman.

He had four catches for 132 yards and two scores against TCU as a freshman in 2020.

Then last season against Texas he was a big reason for OU’s monumental comeback with five catches for 136 yards and a pair of scores.

But Saturday, Mims had the best game of his OU career, finishing with seven catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns.

Mims added a 41-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter, finally being pushed out of bounds by Kent State’s punter.

Mims had touchdown catches of 36 and 58 yards. It was Mims’ fifth career game with two touchdown receptions.

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Sooners’ tempo slow to get going

Earlier in the week, OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said one of the biggest keys to running with the tempo he desires is picking up first downs.

“You can’t play fast if you’re only on the field for three snaps,” Lebby said.

That certainly proved to be the case Saturday as the Sooners struggled to move the ball in the first half.

OU punted on each of its first four drives.

It wasn’t until the Sooners were forced to hurry up — and forced to throw — that they finally got the offense moving at a quick pace.

With 1:10 left in the second quarter, the Sooners got the ball back at their 24 with a chance to regain some momentum going into halftime.

After completions to Eric Gray and Theo Wease, Dillon Gabriel locked in on Mims.

Mims caught three consecutive passes.

The first two, came near the sidelines for 13 and 14 yards before Mims got out of bounds.

On the third, it was time to take a shot deep, and Mims rewarded the call by hauling in a 36-yard touchdown catch with 18 seconds to play before half to put the Sooners up 7-3.

OU ultimately outgained Kent State 158-154 in the first half, but had just seven rushing yards before the break.

Gray, who had his best game with the Sooners in last week’s win over UTEP, had four carries for nine yards, while none of the other backs — Jovantae Barnes and Marcus Major — didn’t perform any better.

More:OU football gets good marks for defensive disruption, Dillon Gabriel, night-light show

Stutsman, defense comes up huge

Sophomore linebacker Danny Stutsman had his first career double-digit tackle game, with 12 tackles.

Stutsman also more than doubled his career total for tackles for loss with four, which included a sack of Kent State quarterback Collin Schlee late in the third quarter.

The Sooners’ defense showed a lot of bend-but-don’t-break early, before settling in to play much better in the second half.

Stutsman was one of three Sooners with at least 10 tackles. Justin Broiles and Billy Bowman had 11 each.

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Offensive line shuffle

One of the Sooners’ offensive issues early was the inconsistent play of its offensive line.

After Anton Harrison started at right tackle in the opener and Tyler Guyton on the left side, the tackles switched places for much of Saturday’s game.

In the third quarter, both Harrison and Guyton went down with injuries on the same play.

While Harrison quickly returned, Guyton missed the rest of the drive, with freshman Jacob Sexton taking over as the Sooners ultimately settled for a 25-yard field goal to go up 17-3.

But Guyton returned shortly thereafter and remained on the right side for the remainder of his time in the game.

More:OU football team gets the message with lights-out moment to surge past Kent State

An unusual penalty

Late in the second quarter, OU’s defense forced Kent State to punt.

Some fans in the stands groaned when a flag dropped in the backfield, fearing a roughing the punter call.

But instead, Kent State was penalized five yards at the end of the punt.

Why?

Bryan Bradford and Bryce Sheppert were both on the field for the Golden Flashes on the play.

Bradford, a running back, and Sheppert, a safety, both wear the same number — 31.

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This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OU vs. Kent State football: Marvin Mims, Sooners beat Golden Flashes