How the Sooners performed against Tulane
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.