How the Soon­ers per­formed against Tulane

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - OSU POSTGAME - Jenni Carl­son jcarl­son@ok­la­homan.com

OU scored an­other de­ci­sive vic­tory against Tulane, but even with the 56-14 win, there were some ar­eas of con­cern in the Soon­ers’ home win.

A Of­fen­sive di­ver­sity. Be­fore the re­serves took over in the fourth quar­ter, seven Soon­ers caught passes and six car­ried the ball. Even with CeeDee Lamb’s ejec­tion on a ques­tion­able tar­get­ing penalty and both Mark An­drews and Baker May­field hob­bling around at dif­fer­ent points, the Soon­ers still rolled up 631 yards. Add in the fact that Lin­coln Ri­ley pulled some tricks from the play­book —pitch-back flea-flicker any­one? — and OU was will­ing to not only spread it around but also mix it up.

C Run de­fense. Even though the Soon­ers gave up way more rush­ing yards to Tulane than they did against Ohio State, 237 to 167, the Green Wave’s op­tion is a rare and tough nut to crack. That’s why the grade is av­er­age, not fail­ing. But there has to be con­cern with the num­ber of solid runs up the mid­dle. Yes, the op­tion opens that area a bit, but there were guys run­ning un­touched up the mid­dle on far too many oc­ca­sions. That must be shored up.

D Re­views. Lots of booth re­views, and frankly, most of them seemed du­bi­ous. The most no­table was on Lamb’s tar­get­ing penalty. It ap­peared that he hit a Tulane de­fender with his shoul­der, not his hel­met, and foot­ball of­fi­ci­at­ing guru Mike Pereira even tweeted, “How could they con­firm the tar­get­ing hit in Ok­la­homa? It was shoul­der to the chest.” There were also two re­views that looked at the spot of the ball, and the first looked to have been placed too far for­ward but was not over­turned, while the sec­ond looked to have been placed prop­erly but was over­turned and re-spot­ted.

A Pa­tri­o­tism. Hard to beat a Navy band join­ing The Pride of Ok­la­homa March­ing Band be­fore the game for the na­tional an­them. But add a fly­over from a giant KC-135 Stra­totanker, and it makes for an ab­so­lutely stel­lar mo­ment. Even though the fly­over came a lit­tle late — hey, that big bird isn’t break­ing any sound bar­ri­ers — it was awe­some to see it over­head. And when the Air Force crew was rec­og­nized in the sta­dium in the sec­ond half, the crowd show­ered it with love.

C Sec­ondary. Tough night with safeties Will John­son and Robert Barnes un­avail­able, but Steven Parker and Co. did a de­cent job back­stop­ping the de­fense. Par­nell Mot­ley had an­other big night with his sec­ond in­ter­cep­tion of the sea­son, this one re­turned for a touch­down. But there were sev­eral times the sec­ondary lucked out. Re­ceivers got a step or two on de­fend­ers, most no­tably Jor­dan Thomas, and if the pass had been bet­ter or the re­ceiver faster, the re­sult would’ve been bad for OU. Against bet­ter pitch­ers and catch­ers, the sec­ondary will need to be bet­ter, too.

A Girl power. Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon was hon­ored as the Pa­triot of the Game, and frankly, she’s about as big-time as they come. A re­tired two-star gen­eral. The first woman to be the Ok­la­homa Sec­re­tary of Veter­ans Af­fairs. And when she was rec­og­nized, she was flanked by OU women’s bas­ket­ball coach Sherri Coale. Two pretty tal­ented women right there.

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