Oklahoma Offense Provides Sooners Exactly What Was Needed To Win

If you would have told me ahead of time that Saturday's game against the Air Force Falcons would come down to a 41-yard field goal then I would have been very nervous. Tell me that the kicker would be Jimmy Stevens and it would have straight up put me in panic mode. That's how the story unfolded though with Stevens being the unsung hero and his third quarter boot being the difference in a 27-24 win.

The problem in playing a team that runs the triple option as well as Air Force is that they'll move the ball, score points and eat up a lot of clock which prevents your offense from getting into a rhythm. The Air Force offense cranked out 450 yards and scored 24 points while chewing up over 34 minutes off the clock. Obviously that only left the Sooners with less that 26 minutes on offense to put up enough points to get the job done.

It may not have been pretty at times but it was mission accomplished for DeMarco Murray and company. Not counting the final drive (which ended with Landry Jones taking a knee) the Sooners had ten offensive possessions on Saturday and scored on 50% of them.

Oklahoma Sooners, 1st Quarter">
Oklahoma Drive Log: 1st Quarter
Start Time Time Poss Drive Began # of Plays Yards Gained Result
14:53 4:40 OKLA 40 12 60 TD
5:26 1:22 OKLA 10 3 2 Punt

 

The Sooners were money on their first drive. They came out of the gate with a twelve play touchdown drive where DeMarco Murray had 30 rushing yards and Landry Jones was perfect on passes. It at least appeared at this point in the game that the Sooners would over power a smaller Air Force defense but the Falcons showed the resolve and toughness that would allow them to remain in the game all the way to the end.

Oklahoma Drive Log: 2nd Quarter
Start Time Time Poss Drive Began # of Plays Yards Gained Result
15:00 1:23 OKLA 32 3 -2 Punt
10:34 2:28 OKLA 16 9 69 FG
5:28 0:23 OKLA 17 3 -5 Punt
2:39 2:21 OKLA 7 12 36 Punt

 

The good news is that Oklahoma doubled their offensive possessions in the third quarter but the bad news is that they could only generate 3 points. It was good enough for a 10-3 halftime lead though.

Oklahoma Drive Log: 3rd Quarter
Start Time Time Poss Drive Began # of Plays Yards Gained Result
10:52 0:22 AFA 41 2 41 TD
8:37 1:22 OKLA 45 7 31 FG
5:29 4:02 OKLA 24 10 76 TD

 

Clearly the third quarter was Oklahoma's best offensive quarter and the difference maker in the game. The Sooners generated 17 points and 148 yards of offense to distance themselves from Air Force, making it possible for them to hold on for the win.

Oklahoma Drive Log: 4th Quarter
Start Time Time Poss Drive Began # of Plays Yards Gained Result
10:43 3:23 OKLA 40 8 25 Downs
3:39 3:39 OKLA 20 8 25 End Reg

 

Only two possessions in the fourth quarter is a testament to what the Falcons were doing on offense and while the first possession may have stalled out at the Air Force 35 the second one sealed the game when Oklahoma picked up two key first downs while the Falcons were burning their timeouts.

Position Grades

Position
Grade
Comment
Quarterback
B-
Landry Jones completed 61% of his passes for 248 yards with 1 touchdown and no turnovers
Running Backs
A
Murray rushes for 111 yards and two scores while averaging 4.3 yards per carry. Mossis Madu averaged 4.0 yards per carry.
Offensive Line
A
Only allowed 1 sack and paved the way for Murray to have a solid afternoon.
Receivers/Ends
B+
Ryan Broyles was spectacular again with 10 catches for 117 yards but ends didn't really get into the game and Cameron Kenney struggled with drops.

 

What The Air Force Defense Did Right

  • Pressured Landry Jones - The Falcons only recorded one sack but they regularly got into the backfield to pressure Jones and force early or errant throws.
  • Locked up on Oklahoma's receivers - Proving that they're a better secondary than what the Sooners faced last week, Air Force often left Landry Jones without a target.
  • Stood tall on third down - Oklahoma was only 7-15 on converting third downs.
What Oklahoma's Offense Did Right

  • Protected the football - No turnovers for Oklahoma's offense speaks volumes and is huge in a three point game.
  • Spread the ball around - Not counting Landry Jones, Oklahoma had eight different skill position players touch the ball.
  • Remained balanced - Landry Jones dropped back to pass 41 times on Saturday afternoon and the offense ran the ball 34 times.
I think that on most Saturdays we'll take an offense that scores 50% of the time it touches the ball. Most of the time it'll lead to a comfortable margin of victory. Then on days  like Saturday it should provide the Sooners with exactly what they need to pull out the victory.
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