Before Saturdays battle against West Point, the majority of Sooner fans, myself included, expected the talent level of Oklahoma to show itself early. Once the game got started, it was clear that the discipline and ball control by Army was going to be a problem for Mike Stoops and the Sooner defense.
Oklahoma headed into this game knowing exactly what to expect from the Black Knights, and Army did just that. They ran the Triple-option to near perfection all night carving up the Sooner’s defense for 340 yards. They also ran the ball 78 times. As a fan, it seemed like I was able to call every single play they were running, but their stellar schemes and offensive line play seemed unstoppable.
One big highlight for Oklahoma’s defense was the combination of Kenneth Murray and Curtis Bolton. Kenneth Murray recorded 28 tackles, and Bolton added another 22. 50 tackles for the duo is the most in Sooner history. The defense really had no answer for the triple-option, but made big plays down the stretch. Kenneth Mann picked one off late in regulation, and Parnell Motley, for the second week in a row finished the game with an interception of his own.
The real issue for the Sooners was that the offense was barely on the field. Army held true to their time of possession reputation, holding the ball for over 45 minutes during regulation. Oklahoma’s offense was explosive, minus Marquise Brown seemingly lost in the shuffle, but only having the ball for as long as they did really hurts your chances off putting up big points.
Trey Sermon had a pretty solid day on the ground, rushing for nearly 120 yards. CeeDee Lamb made up for ‘Hollywood’ Brown’s lackluster game with two big TD catches, including one in overtime. Oklahoma only ran 40 plays on offense, but still managed to average nearly 9 yards a play. It seems fair to assume that if the defense roughed up the triple-option then overtime wouldn’t have been necessary.
Another reason it should not have been needed was the huge missed field goal by Austin Seibert as time expired in regulation. The entire crowd erupted because it seemed like such a simple kick, but when the pressure is on, kicking even the simplest kick becomes so much tougher.
It wasn’t a pretty game for the Sooners by any means, but a win is a win and Oklahoma still has a chance to win out and make an appearance in the college football playoff. Next week they’ll be home again as they play host to the Baylor Bears.
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