Grades reflect Sooners' impressive Big 12 title-winning performance
The Sooners beat their in-state rival, capped an undefeated run through conference play and won a Big 12 title. The grades reflect their mastery on a day they defeated Oklahoma State, 38-20:
Offensive line: A
The Sooners didn't run the ball well in the first half. Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine combined for 46 yards on 18 carries. But the OU line protected Baker Mayfield, whose passing was pinpoint and who was sacked just once. And in the second half, the running game bloomed. Perine and Mixon combined for 292 yards on 30 carries.
WESTBROOK VOID: A
When Dede Westbrook left the game midway through the second quarter, OU was without its record-setting big-play receiver. But the Sooner offense didn't wither. OU had three huge gainers after Westbrook's departure, one in each of the last three quarters — Jeffery Mead had a 42-yard reception, Perine had a 66-yard run and Mixon had a 79-yard touchdown run. Geno Lewis and Mixon also added touchdown catches. OU's offense was actually more effective after Westbrook's departure.
Sooner fashion: a
Quite a show by the Sooners, and we're not just talking about the football. The Sooners displayed some interesting fashions Saturday, starting with the Fu Manchu mustaches on the quarterbacks. Starter Baker Mayfield grew his own, but a few of the guys were unable and had to draw on theirs with eye black. Not to be upstaged, Sooner fullback Dimitri Flowers did early warm-ups in a green “ugly” Christmas sweater, then showed up in the same garb for post-game interviews.
Handling weather: B
Perine fumbled twice, losing one, but they were the result of hard hits by OSU more than a slippery ball. Mayfield handled the rainy conditions superbly, throwing accurately. The Sooners did have three drops – Mixon, Jordan Smallwood and A.D. Miller – but in general seemed to be less affected by the weather than were the Cowboys.
pass rush: a
The Sooners only sacked Mason Rudolph twice, and even though they had just two official quarterback hurries, they pressured the Cowboy quarterback all day. OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops mixed blitzed with the normal pass rush, and it had OSU blockers on their heels much of the day. That made a tough day for Rudolph even tougher. He never found a rhythm, and times when he hit a pass or two, the Sooners would soon follow with some pressure that either forced Rudolph on the run or made him think about who might be coming up behind him.
Flyovers are grand no matter what, but Saturday's was meaningful as well. Southwest Airlines provided a 737 flyover during the national anthem to honor Mike Winchester, the former Sooner punter and longtime Southwest employee who was killed while leaving work last month. His entire family, including son and current Kansas City Chiefs deep snapper James Winchester, was on the field for a moment of silence. Even though the clouds partially obscured the plane, it was an awesome way to honor Winchester.