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Oklahoma Sooners Football | Keith Ford Proves Irreplaceable In 34-10 Win Over Tennessee

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Brett Deering

The Oklahoma Sooners' offense continues to hum along lead by Trevor Knight. Throughout each game this season, this unit continuously provides a fast start, setting the pace for the rest of the game. Against Tennessee, the storyline was no different as the offense scored 13 unanswered points in the first quarter.

"It just shows you have come prepared to play and ready to execute. It doesn't give you that much comfort when it's early and you still have another two and a half to three quarters to go. You better keep playing. But it is a positive, it gives you energy and it gives you a little boost like that." - Bob Stoops

Oklahoma now holds a 55-0 scoring edge over opponents in the first quarter. Regardless, Sterling Shepard and Keith Ford remain key cogs in a machine gearing up for conference play.

"Keith is physical and does a good job of setting up his blocks and using his keys to get him in the right spot. He is a really good player and we are going to continue to keep him as a big part of what we are doing." - Josh Heupel

In the early going, the one dependable piece of the offensive puzzle remained Shepard. Behind him, fans weren't quite sure what to expect as the group took to the field. After one game, we left scratching our heads as to who would step up next to the legacy. Week two narrowed down the group and gave fans hope in Durron Neal. Now, Neal continues the upward trend by adding seven receptions for 71 yards to his resume.

Not to mention, Oklahoma continues to target big tight end Blake Bell! Let's hope this trend continues throughout the remainder of the season.

As for Ford, the soft hands coming out of the backfield combined with vision and a physical style of running have helped tremendously. These attributes were displayed early and often (up until Ford was taken to the locker room to be evaluated) leading to the first touchdown of the evening.

"You hand the ball off to Keith and he's going to get yards for you. He's such a physical back, and just sees the field so well, and that was big tonight. Hit a few shots, hit a few shots, and then open it up for him. He got that touchdown there pretty early, so just continuing to give him the rock. Our offensive line did a great job of mashing them off the ball at the beginning of the game and just opening things up for him." - Trevor Knight

Questions over Ford's health currently remain up in the air. We'll likely know more specifics by Monday's press conference if nothing comes out tomorrow.

While the Sooners' offense did not necessarily finish off they way they may have liked, the effort was good enough to secure a win over a young but talented and athletic Tennessee Volunteers squad.

Position Grades

Quarterback - The passing attack pushed out 308 yards with a single touchdown and one interception. Josh Heupel has began to incorporate the running abilities of Trevor Knight once again. From moving around in the pocket to tucking the ball and darting into the endzone, Knight proved to be decisive and accurate throughout most of the night. Overall Grade: A

Receivers/Tight Ends - This is a group that continues to progress and came up big when the Volunteers dared OU to pass. Although only four different receivers/tight ends caught passes, not a single receiver averaged under 10.1 yards per catch. Not a bad stat considering the lack of deep balls thrown. Of course, Blake Bell jumped offsides in a critical short-yardage situation. Combine that with the lack of scores and we have the negatives from the game. Once again, this unit excels at blocking and has now taken some pride when doing so. Overall Grade: A-

Running Backs - Oklahoma's approach to the rushing attack continues to utilize a committee of backs. The powerful Samaje Perine racked up a team high 67 yards. However, it was Keith Ford stealing the show wtih 91 all-purpose yards and two offensive touchdowns out of the Sooners' three. Even though the backs are young, they prove irreplaceable by doing what they have been asked to do. Overall Grade: A+

Offensive Line - Experience and leadership quickly become evident with the line. The ability to open up running lanes while keeping the quarterback upright are exactly what we're looking for here. Sure, Knight was sacked once but it's a small blip on an otherwise dominating night as OU averaged 4.3 yards per carry on the ground. Overall Grade: A