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Closing the Door on the Blue Raiders


Someone had to do it. Someone had to be the team that played the Sooners the week after they were unjustly awarded their first loss of the season. The Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders walked into an ambush Saturday night in Norman. The Sooners pounded MTSU into submission in the first quarter and then cruised to a 59-0 victory.

Granted MTSU is a step down in competition from Oklahoma's previous three games there were still several positive things to take away from this game going into the bye week.

Offensive Review

Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson finally made the opposing defense pay for stacking the box. On Oklahoma's first drive MTSU got a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson but had to settle for a field goal. After that Oklahoma opened up the passing game and the flood gates. Paul Thompson passed for 163 yards in the first quarter and the Sooners lead 24-0 after the first 15 minutes and 45-0 at halftime. Thompson finished the game with 254 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions.

For those Paul Thompson doubters that are still out there he has passed for 930 yards (235.5 ypg) and eight touchdowns to three interceptions. His completion percentage is 62.2 and his quarterback rating is 162.8.

The offensive line gave steady protection for Thompson allowing no sacks. They also allowed Adrian Peterson to run for 131 yards and three touchdowns against mostly eight man fronts. The most amazing that about those stats is that three true freshman had playing time on the line Saturday night. Chase Beeler, Trent Williams and Cory Brandon all saw action with Beeler getting the start at center.

At receiver Malcolm Kelly is establishing himself as one of the best receivers in the league. The sophomore is beginning to draw comparisons to former Sooner and current Baltimore Raven Mark Clayton. Kelly was just two yards shy of breaking Clayton's record of 166 receiving yards in a half.

Adrian Peterson was typical Adrian Peterson. Beyond his stats the most important thing is that he will be completely healthy going into the Texas game.

Defensive Review

The defense got exactly what they needed Saturday night after giving up 500 yards last week to Oregon. Oklahoma took advantage of size and speed to dominate MTSU. The Sooners forced turnovers, made tackles behind the line of scrimmage and held the Blue Raiders to under 100 total yards of offense.

The defensive line shut down the Blue Raiders running game. MTSU had only 31 net rushing yards and averaged only 1.1 yard per carry.

The linebackers were outstanding as well. Rufus Alexander had a team high eight tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Zach Latimer intercepted a pass by Clint Marks and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.

I think the secondary is still a work in progress. Reggie Smith has moved back to safety. Marcus Walker seems to have one corner spot locked down and Lendy Holmes and DJ Wolfe are splitting time at the other corner position.

In the record books

Saturday was Adrian  Peterson's 20th career 100-yard game, which tied him for second with Sims on the all-time OU list.

His second-quarter touchdown was the 35th of his career, moving him ahead of Steve Davis and into a tie with J.C. Watts at sixth all-time.

With 27 carries, Peterson is two touches away from passing Joe Washington for third all-time at OU.

His 125 total yards Saturday moved him past Stanley Wilson and Buster Rhymes into eighth all-time on the OU all-purpose yardage chart with 3,878 total yards.

Rufus Alexander set a school record Saturday with five tackles for lost yardage.