The Sooners opened up the 2018 campaign against Florida Atlantic, and before the game I really had doubts on if they would be able to stop Devin Singletary and the offensive mastermind that is Lane Kiffin. While Singletary had his moments, the Sooners seemed to really focus on him, and it showed in the box score. Below I give my grades for Oklahoma on offense, defense and special teams following their week 1 victory.
Kyler Murray began with a standout performance, throwing for over 200 yards, two TD’s and making a few dazzling plays on his feet all before the end of the first half. He completed a 65 yard bomb to “Hollywood” Brown in stride, and looked comfortable in the pocket as well. One big surprise in the first half was a Lee Morris‘ 65 yard touchdown snag, where he broke off a few tackles on his way to the end zone. Oklahoma’s offense constantly found ways to build momentum over and over again and never really let up.
Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon both looked fantastic, luckily for Lincoln, neither had to play many snaps. In just 5 runs Anderson managed to hit the 100 yard mark, and scored two TD’s. Trey Sermon added another 70, along with a touchdown of his own. The Sooner offense racked up over 400 yards before the halftime whistle blew.
Austin Kendall looked strong in relief of Kyler, going 8-10 for 88 yards through the air and a touchdown. Kendall and Kyler combined for just four total in-completions, going 17-21. The star of the game had to be Marquise Brown, who is expected to have a huge season this year. Kyler already loves slinging it to him, and Brown hasn’t lost any speed, still bursting past the secondary on a regular basis. The Biletnikoff nominee ended with 6 catches, 133 yards and a pretty 65 yard touchdown grab.
Offense Final Grade : A
This is the area most fans had their concerns over. Oklahoma was having to mix promising youth with experience, and hope to build a cohesive and smart defense before the Big 12 season opens up. Florida Atlantic had a top notch offense last season, but clearly former Sooner Chris Robinson struggled against a Sooners’ defense that looked motivated and ready to hit on every play. The starters for the Sooner’s didn’t allow a point in their time on the field, and looked strong on all three levels.
Brendan Radley-Hiles was the talk of the Sooner defense in the offseason, and he made plays as soon as the game began. Senior Curtis Bolton was a surprise for the fans, going out there and showing some leadership that Oklahoma desperately needed this season. Neville Gallimore added a big sack, and helped slow down Devin Singletary. Another top recruit, Ronnie Perkins added four more tackles off the edge.
The were able to hold Singletary to just 70 yards rushing and a touchdown. Those numbers will make every Sooner Coach happy, because the Florida Atlantic back will go on to have a stellar 2018 season.
Sooner Defense Grade : A+
The biggest play maybe all day was the blocked punt by Lee Morris that turned into a Curtis Bolton TD. That momentum swing was huge for the Sooners, and was the beginning of the rout. It was Oklahoma’s first blocked punt touchdown in almost 20 years.
Swiss Army Knife Kicker/Punter Austin Seibert missed his only field goal attempt of the day; a 53-yard attempt. He did knock in all 8 of his extra points, and added two strong punts.
The return game wasn’t exceptional, but Lee Morris did have one nice return for 28 yards, giving Oklahoma great field position.
Special Teams Grade : A ++
This was an extremely strong showing from the Sooners, who now look like a team ready to make a push for the Playoff. They’ll take on UCLA next week in Norman.
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