What a game, Sooner fans. I don’t know about you, but I’m still coming down from the jubilation of that incredible performance Oklahoma displayed in Columbus last night. While the defense played well above all expectations, I’m here to discuss the brilliance of Lincoln Riley and how the Sooners’ offense put on a clinic against the Buckeyes to the tune of 490 total yards.
I’ll begin with Coach Riley and his masterful game plan. From the very first drive, Oklahoma looked crisp and on schedule. Just watching the game, I felt Riley’s quiet confidence coursing through this entire offense. And with a fiery and battle-tested QB like Baker Mayfield running the show, the rest of the team followed Riley and Mayfield’s lead. Coach Riley proved once again that he is undoubtedly one of the best offensive minds in all of college football.
And speaking of Mayfield, the guy was simply sensational once again. It’s almost unbelievable to me how he still manages to surprise me with his elusiveness and creativity. Mayfield finished the game with 386 yards and 3 touchdowns, completing 27 of 35 passes.
As expected, we also saw some new offensive wrinkles in this game, such as RB Abdul Adams receiving the direct snap when the defense assumed the ball was going to Mayfield. Early in the game, Adams fumbled the ball and never had another carry in the game. Luckily for the Sooners, running back depth is deep. True freshman RB Trey Sermon led the way for all the backs with 62 yards on 17 carries while adding 3 receptions for 23 yards and this grown-man touchdown:
Another unique look came when Mayfield left for a play for extra attention on an apparent leg issue, with backup QB Kyler Murray coming in his place. Murray received the snap and tossed it to Sermon running to his right, who then pitched the ball back to Murray and became his lead blocker. Murray’s rush amounted for nine yards before Mayfield returned to the game.
Coach Riley took advantage of Ohio State’s aggressive defensive line by calling quick pass plays and dump-offs into the soft spots in the Buckeyes’ defense. The short/intermediate routes over the middle of the defense were available practically all night long, and guys like WR CeeDee Lamb and FB Dimitri Flowers exploited these vulnerable areas relentlessly. Lamb doesn’t play like a freshman at all and Flowers actually finished the game as the Sooners’ leading receiver with seven receptions for 98 yards and this amazing 36-yard touchdown:
Unfortunately, TE Mark Andrews went down with an apparent leg injury early on in the game and never returned. Andrews was expected to play a major role in this game, but was sidelined after two catches for 23 yards. Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma’s ability to adapt following the loss of Andrews was nothing short of impressive. After losing arguably the biggest matchup nightmare in college football, the offense was somehow able to adapt without missing a beat. I think it’s safe to say that Riley out-coached a legend on Saturday evening in Columbus. He was on fire last night, and I’m not sure anyone in the country could’ve beaten his team last tight.
What was one of the more exciting developments to watch unfold in this game was the significant contributions by first-year Sooners. 15 of Mayfield’s 27 completions were to first-year contributors, and 20 of the team’s 37 rushes were from new contributors. It is true, Oklahoma doesn’t rebuild, they reload.
If Ohio State does indeed boast the best defensive line and perhaps overall defense on Oklahoma’s schedule, then future opponents beware. With Lincoln Riley, the offensive guru, calling the shots, and Baker Mayfield running the show, this team could make a lot of folks quickly forget about last season’s exceptional offense. There is just a plethora of weapons on this team than on most in recent memory, and I’m certain Riley plans to utilize every single one of them to his advantage.
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