“We played the best, worst game”
Steven Parker has become a standout for a porous Sooner’s secondary. Two straight years he has come up clutch when the team needed him. Saturday the Oklahoma Sooners had their backs against the wall with the pressure of Sooner nation ready to cave in on top of them. They needed a win, desperately, and probably needed to win convincingly if they wanted the criticism to stop. Early on in the game, it looked as if the city of Norman would become a war zone until Steven Parker silenced the bandwagon fans with an interception and restored hope in a team fighting for pride and a Big 12 championship.
It doesn’t take much for momentum to flip and OU showed that Saturday. At the end of the first quarter, the Sooners were down 21-7. Texas A&M transfer quarterback Kenny Hill seemed to have his TCU squad clicking on all cylinders until he threw an out-route interception. Not only was it the first interception in Steven Parker’s career, it was the Sooner’s first interception of the season. It symbolized a spark that OU fans haven’t seen in their team all season and what followed was the opening of the floodgates to the tune of a 28-3 run that included a heavy dose of running, and even a 67-yard flea flicker touchdown by Baker Mayfield to Dede Westbrook.
One of the many critiques of the Lincoln Riley offense has been his tendency to turn away from the run game, but Saturday he did not. Semaje ‘Optimus’ Perine rumbled his way with 17 carries for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns and Joe Mixon continued his fantastic season with 16 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown while boasting his versatility with 5 catches for 70 yards. It was a balanced offense that was successful moving the ball even though the offensive line was patched together after lineman Jonathan Alvarez was out with a foot injury. Then the fourth quarter began.
At this point is where the elephant in the room must be addressed. The Oklahoma defense is still having issues. The cornerbacks continue to show their youth and growing pains as they attempt to field a bend don’t break defense that is completely fractured by the end of a game. That didn’t change as even with a 25 point lead the defense allowed the high-powered TCU offense to make it a game again by cutting the lead to 52-46. Fortunately, the defense made the plays necessary to end the game. After a false start penalty, the OU defense sacked Kenny Hill and forced and intentional grounding that set up a fourth and 20 that would decide the game.
The Sooners looked bad at times and they looked good at times. Regardless of the win, there are questions that need answers leading into the Red River Rivalry. Where is highly recruited cornerback PJ Mbanasor? Why not try freshman Jordan Parker? Why is our defense not getting set before plays? Texas has a new up-tempo offense and will surely look to exploit the weaknesses in the OU defense, it’s time for OU to step up and make plays. If they can build off of this performance, we could begin to see a team that will live up to its potential. Until then, enjoy Texas hate week and as always, see you Saturday.