The 2011 Oklahoma Sooners are slowly putting together the pieces for a championship caliber season. Its still a work in progress but some of the pieces still to add to the resume are an undefeated season and more play makers on offense. Obviously the undefeated season is on a week-by-week basis but the play maker issue may have been resolved. In the last two weeks Jaz Reynolds has caught ten passes for 234 yards and a touchdown. While those certainly aren't "Ryan Broyles" type numbers its more than enough (as Reynolds proved Saturday night) for a third receiving option.
Oklahoma's offense was clicking on all cylinders Saturday night against an out-manned Ball State defense. They abused the Cardinals to the tune of 655 total yards and 55 offensive points (Oklahoma's defense scored a touchdown to give the Sooners a total of 62 points). OU averaged 8.5 yards per snap and produced 28 first downs. They began the game by scoring consecutively on each of their first six possessions.
Oklahoma's First Six Possessions
The offensive game plan was pretty clear, take what you can, and against the Ball State defense it seemed like there was nothing off limits. The play calling was pretty balanced with the Sooners going with 39 passes and 38 runs in an effort to test out a revamped offensive line and get them game experienced before heading to Dallas to take on the Longhorns next weekend.
If this was a test of sorts for the Oklahoma offense then the Sooners passed with flying colors! However, the big story coming out of last night's game was the emergence of Reynolds who took advantage of a Kenny Stills concussion and a Trey Franks suspension last week to gain valuable playing time against Missouri and then establish himself as a legitimate down field threat Saturday night against Ball State. Reynolds improved on his 5 catch/93 yard performance against Missouri by hauling in five more passes for 141 yards and a score against Ball State. If you're a defensive coordinator, Oklahoma's offense already forces you to pay attention to Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills, so what are you going to do now with Jaz Reynolds?
Receivers - In addition to the five catch/141 yard performance by Reynolds, Ryan Broyles caught four passes for 109 yards with two scores and Kenny Stills caught seven passes for 80 yards and a score. Seven other Sooners caught passes on the night with James Hanna being the only other one to grab a touchdown. Overall position grade: A+
Offensive Line - This was the big question mark for me going into the night. I wondered how they would hold up without their captain, Ben Habern, and Gabe Ikard in place as the center. The result was overwhelmingly positive with Landry Jones not being sacked once in 33 pass attempts and paving the way for the Sooner running backs to average 5.5 yards per carry. Overall position grade: A+
Running Backs - In the first start of his career, Dominique Whaley gave the type of performance we are growing accustomed to as fans with 109 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. It became evident that Brandon Williams will not redshirt after carrying the ball 11 times for 58 yards in his first action of the season. The two averaged 7.3 and 5.3 yards per carry respectively. As good as Whaley has been, and will continue to be, there is a clear difference in the speed burst between him and Williams. Talk about explosive, Williams reaches top speed very quickly! Overall position grade: A+
Quarterbacks - Landry Jones completed 70% of his passes for 425 yards and five touchdowns but made a horrible mistake by missing on a pass that cost him an interception. Drew Allen was solid for what he was able to do in mop-up duty (4/6-22yrds) and Blake Bell showed of his mobility but not so much his accuracy. Overall position grade: B+
Offensive MVP: Jaz Reynolds - 5 receptions 141 yards and 1 touchdown.