Welcome back to another edition of our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series! If you’ve stuck with us this long, the end this extended countdown is near as we’ve finally reached single digits. With only nine days remaining until the Oklahoma Sooners open the upcoming college football season, I want to go over the nine sacks OU’s defense recorded against the Texas Longhorns in the 2019 Red River Showdown.
What a difference a year makes. Just days after the Oklahoma’s annual meeting with Texas at the Cotton Bowl in 2018, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was fired. Fast-forward to the same game one season later, and first year DC Alex Grinch had his ‘Speed D’ working to near perfection.
Leading up to the heated rivalry game, the Longhorns were feeling confident, and openly dismissed the Sooners’ defensive capabilities. Namely veteran OL Samuel Cosmi, who singled out OU DE Ronnie Perkins and DT Neville Gallimore.
Texas OT Sam Cosmi said of OU DL Ronnie Perkins and Neville Gallimore, “I wouldn’t say they’re super special but they’re good players, solid players. Nothing to worry about too much.”— Kirk Bohls (@kbohls) October 8, 2019
What ensued that college football Saturday was one of the most dominant displays of a D-Line wreaking havoc on an O-Line the Sooners have exhibited in quite some time. In fact, every level of the defense was involved in this beatdown, and UT’s Sam Ehlinger paid the price for his teammate’s trash talk.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each sack in chronological order:
- 1Q, 8:35 — Gallimore sacks Ehlinger for a 10-yard loss
- 1Q, 2:28 — TEAM sacks Ehlinger for a two-yard loss
- 2Q, 5:07 — Patrick Fields sacks Ehlinger for a seven-yard loss
- 2Q, 0:43 — Perkins sacks Ehlinger for a one-yard loss
- 3Q, 13:09 — Murray sacks Ehlinger for a 10-yard loss
- 3Q, 4:32 — Jalen Redmond sacks Ehlinger for a five-yard loss
- 4Q, 11:52 — Marquise Overton sacks Ehlinger for an eight-yard loss
- 4Q, 8:19 — Gallimore sacks Ehlinger for a three-yard loss
- 4Q 2:41 — Marcus Stripling sacks Ehlinger for a three-yard loss
As a result, Sam Ehlinger rushed for a net of -9 yards on 23 carries thanks to the outstanding effort from Oklahoma’s defensive front. It was a performance of epic proportions en route to a 34-27 Sooner victory that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would indicate. All things considered, this pic sums up that glorious day quite nicely. Boomer!
Words mean nothing...you gotta show me. pic.twitter.com/TT6ICED2VN— Neville Gallimore (@Path2Greatwork) October 12, 2019
Countdown bonus! Sophomore WR Theo Wease (we missed yesterday)
Fun fact: Wease signed with Oklahoma out of Allen HS — the same school OU Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray became a Texas high school legend at. Also like K1, Wease was a five-star recruit who was offered by virtually every elite FBS program in the nation, but as the story goes, he ultimately made the wise decision to join the Sooners.
Standing at 6’3, 192, Wease has a prototypical frame for playing on the outside. As he continues to fill out, he should become even more dominant in one-on-one matchups. The thought of that has to be a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators, because even as a true freshman, he didn’t appear to have too much trouble adjusting to the physicality of D-1 football. Just check out the first catch of his career in Oklahoma’s game against South Dakota.
Wease shed that first defender like he wasn’t even there, then basically bulldozed his way to the end zone with multiple Coyotes desperately attempting yet failing to deny him. That’s about as tough as a run from a wide receiver as you’re going to see this side of CeeDee Lamb.
Not only does Wease possess naturally elite athletic ability, he’s already shown his versatility in Lincoln Riley’s offense. Whether he’s hauling in passes over the middle like the scoring play he made against SD, or going deep down the sideline against the West Virginia Mountaineers, his football acumen as a receiver is impressive to say the least.
Perhaps his greatest night as a Sooner to date came against the Baylor Bears. With Lamb missing from the lineup, Oklahoma was in need of players who could step up underneath the lights. The epic 25-point comeback was only possible thanks a group effort from several OU young pups — including Wease. Late in the third quarter and early in the fourth, he made the plays necessary to help lift his team toward victory.
In his first college football season, Theo Wease recorded 136 yards and two TDs on eight receptions. What he showed in Waco is what Sooner fans should expect to see from him more consistently in 2020, especially with so much turnover from last year’s receiving corps. If he takes the kind of leap that his ability says he can this fall, look out for him being a potential First Team All-Big 12 selection, if not more.
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