After four games in which Samaje Perine was either underutilized or overshadowed by Joe Mixon, the workhorse back looked like his old self against Texas. Rushing for 214 yards on 35 carries, he was utilized properly for the first time this season.
Perine’s effort today was crucial, as he enabled OU to slow down the pace in the second half - something that OU’s banged up defense desperately need. It also allowed OU to set up the deep passing game, leading to a record-breaking day for Dede Westbrook.
For those of us who have missed the sight of Perine taking over a game, Saturday was a breath of fresh air. The NCAA record holder for yards in a game surpassed the 200-yard mark for the fifth time in his two-and-a-half year career, and he’s now only a shade under 600 yards away from breaking the career record for rushing yards at Oklahoma. With seven games remaining against less-than-stellar defenses, Perine will easily have the record if he stays healthy and Lincoln Riley does his job correctly.
Lincoln, KEEP GIVING SAMAJE THE ROCK! He definitley deserves some credit for the last two games. As an Air Raid guy, Riley is naturally inclined to place priority on the passing game over the running game. When it starts to become apparent that Oklahoma is in for what could potentially be a shootout, he has been guilty of abandoning the running game. The proper course of action, of course, is to give it to your two NFL-caliber backs and slow down the pace of the game. I know it seems like an obvious move to us, but it takes a lot of discipline to go against one’s nature, and Riley has done a great job of it against TCU and Texas.
Before Saturday, many (including myself) have clamored for Joe Mixon to become Oklahoma’s feature back. And while I still believe Mixon is the more talented back, I think Samaje did a lot today to let us all know that he’s still the man in the Oklahoma backfield.