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- US American football quarterback, born 2002
The Sooners won a rock fight with Iowa State 28-21, largely behind the inspired play of their defense. A unit who has found their swagger since getting back some major pieces from injury.
Meanwhile, on the offensive side of things, the Sooners have hit a wall of sorts behind their true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams. Unlike the week prior against Baylor, he made enough plays to help get the offense over the finish line.
Ultimately, the Sooners walked away victors and with a chance to fight for a spot in the Big 12 Championship game.
As the page flips from Iowa State to the biggest Bedlam matchup in recent memory, we should close out the Iowa State week by passing out our grades for the Sooners 28-21 win over the Cyclones. .
In back-to-back weeks I regret to inform you the quarterback play was not up to par. Chalking the Baylor loss up to freshman mistakes and jitters is fine. However, Caleb Williams faced some of the same issues he faced against Baylor this week against Iowa State.
Williams held on to the ball, didn’t appear confident, and a refusal to bail from the pocket earlier were the most notable mistakes.
He made more plays this week than he did against Baylor. His 74-yard touchdown run is one of those plays and he threw an absolute laser beam to fellow true freshman Mario Williams for a touchdown.
It’s because of plays like those, there is still a mountain of confidence in what Caleb Williams can be for the remainder of this season and beyond.
Williams ripped a few good passes in the second half that would make anyone feel good.
Lincoln Riley has to get Williams to trust ibis reads again. He’s second-guessing himself on tight-window throws.
Up next for the kid nicknamed Superman, the best defense Oklahoma will have played all year in Oklahoma State.
Running Backs: B
Kennedy Brooks will be missed whenever he hangs up his cleats.
Despite being largely underutilized in this game, Brooks finished with 115 yards on 17 carries. Eric Gray saw four carries for 23 yards and made a few nice chips in pass protection.
This running game may need to be leaned on for more as they head to Stillwater. In the Iowa State game, both backs created yards when nothing appeared to be there behind an inconsistent offensive line.
We’ve yet to see anything from Marcus Major in meaningful game action but if the Sooners are to keep winning, the running backs may have to rush them to a Big 12 title while Riley and Williams figure out how to unlock the talented quarterback’s passing ability.
H-Backs/Tight Ends: B-
Following a stinker of a game in Baylor, it was obvious that the most versatile position group on the entire team needed to bring it.
Captain Jeremiah Hall, Brayden Willis, and Austin Stogner did just that.
The offensive production may not have been great but they blocked much better and were open on a few routes that were overthrown or missed entirely by Caleb Williams.
Seniors Jeremiah Hall and Brayden Willia still have a few more opportunities to show out before they move on if that’s what either attempts to do.
Going out with one last Big 12 title is right within reach if the Sooners can win the next two games.
Wide Receivers: B-
The Sooners wide receivers have gotten the short end of the stick the last few weeks. As a result of timid playcalling, a quarterback in a bit of a slump, and an offensive line that has made things harder for him at times, the production has fallen off a cliff.
Guys are open or at least open enough to make plays and either haven’t or the pass itself isn’t accurate enough.
Iowa State’s 3-3-5 was innately built to keep the Sooners from going the over the top but the intermediate-middle part of the field was open multiple times and the pass never made it.
This unit is due for a big performance.
Marvin Mims had the most receiving yards (22) while Mario Williams caught the only touchdown pass of the day. Plays will have to be made via the air come Saturday as they take on a stout Cowboys run defense.
Offensive Line: C
While watching the game in real-time, I thought the offensive line struggled. But after a second look, this unit didn’t play nearly as badly as was suggested by the masses on the internet.
Were they perfect? No.
It’s important to note this late into this season, this unit isn’t the Joe Moore Award caliber unit from a few years back. They just aren’t.
Establishing how they grow from this heading into next year will be major. For the remainder of the season, what they are is what you get. They can be good, not great but the good we see is as inconsistent as anything on the entire team.
Andrew Raym left with an injury and was replaced by Robert Congel while Erik Swenson replaced Anton Harrison who also went out with injury. If both can’t go, look for the veterans to step in and hopefully pick up the slack. Marquis Hayes played well posting a pass-blocking grade of 84.1 to end his home career on a strong note.
Defensive Line: A
Not a single unit played as well as the defensive line did for Oklahoma on Saturday.
The highly touted talent the Sooners had in the trenches remembered who they were and left their stamp on this game.
From the starters to the backups behind them, they came in waves without any meaningful dropoff in terms of activity and disruptiveness, which is at the forefront of the Speed D.
Isaiah Thomas had two sacks and two tackles for loss in his final home game, while Perrion Winfrey got himself a sack and a very loud tackle for loss. Jalen Redmond got into the playmaking party by scooping a fumble forced by Key Lawrence and rumbled for a touchdown.
It was a phenomenal display of effort and playmaking while executing a flawless game plan to neutralize Breece Hall and make Brock Purdy very uncomfortable.
This was the best game the linebackers played all year. Tackling was on point and it should be noted Saturday’s effort was only the second time this season the Sooners had less than 10 missed tackles.
All of the linebackers flew to the ball with very bad intentions. Brian Asamoah is playing like his life depends on it. His last three weeks have been phenomenal. Nik Bonitto did some freakish things like timing the snap count and bursting through the defensive line and forcing an Iowa State player to hesitate on a key 4th down play that allowed a gang of Sooners to make the play and force a turnover on downs. And for good measure, Nik Bonitto had a sack and two tackles for loss. David Ugwoegbu had some excellent run fits as well. It was a complete showing from this unit who’s begun to put it all together.
Defensive backs: A-
It’s kind of crazy how much better a secondary with experience and talent looks. For a month and some change, people discounted the Sooners secondary as a bad unit. Well after an influx of players returned from injury, and the development of Key Lawrence into an absolute defensive back chess piece, the Sooners have become a very dangerous secondary.
Pat Fields and Delarrin Turner-Yell came up and made plays in the run game and both seniors were able to come away with interceptions. They do it all.
Woodi Washington had some nice coverage Saturday, while Key Lawrence posted the best coverage according to Pro Football Focus.
As long as these guys remain healthy, the Sooners secondary can ground a plethora of aerial attacks looking to fly against the Sooners.
Special Teams: C
We’ve officially hit full slump mode for kicker Gabe Brkic who has missed his last three kicks. The simple solution is no more kicking burritos.
All jokes aside, Gabe’s going to have to figure this out, especially considering the offense isn’t exactly making a living scoring touchdowns of late. The Sooners need their award-winning, and highly regarded kicker, to help out when allowed to get them points.
Michael Turk continues to prove he should’ve been nominated for the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter with six punts for an average of 54.8 yards. Three were downed inside the 20. Turk deserves respect.