Thank goodness for Baker Mayfield. The Sooner QB continues to show he’s an extraordinary playmaker. Mayfield threw for 487 yards, 4 touchdowns and ran for two other scores in OU’s 52-38 win over Tulsa. Mayfield also set the school record for total offense by a player with 572 yards.
Sterling Shepard has also been a consistent playmaker for the Sooners, along with Mayfield, saving the Tennessee game and having another strong effort against the Golden Hurricane.
However, the win also brought back some serious issues for the Sooners. One in particular, the secondary.
Where was the defense? Sure, OU totaled 773 yards for the game, but Tulsa also got 603. Those are Tecmo Bowl numbers. Ridiculous.
New Tulsa coach Phil Montgomery, an Art Briles disciple, has installed the Baylor offense at TU, and that system continues to give the Sooners fits.
Tulsa ran up 397 yards total offense on OU in the first half. Aided by two Sooner fumbles in the red zone, the Golden Hurricane only trailed Oklahoma 31-24 at halftime.
Tulsa picked on Sooner cornerback PJ Mbanasor, replacing starter Jordan Thomas who suspended for team rules, early and often. TU has solid wide receivers and even went after OU corner Zach Sanchez.
The coverage issues are problematic for OU, and while TU’s receivers are solid, they’re not nearly the quality Mike Stoop’s defense will face against TCU, Baylor and OSU down the road.
The Sooners DC has to come up with something better to combat this system. Unfortunately, for him, the only answer may be finding some corners who can cover like Deion Sanders or Darelle Revis.
Turnovers also played a key role in last year’s disappointing 8-5 season. And they were back Saturday, with red zone fumbles from Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. OU could’ve scored 45 in the first half without those miscues.
The Sooner running game, without starting center Ty Darlington (knee) was sporadic, but better. Perine got loose in the second half. However, OU’s rushing totals are very inflated thanks to Mayfield’s running/scrambling ability.
Oklahoma is 3-0.
However, old problems are still haunting this team. Coverage, turnovers, inconsistent running game, receiver drops.
Luckily, for Sooner fans, the quarterback play is so much better.
But a QB alone cannot beat the likes of TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma State in November.
And Dana Holgorsen is bringing his best West Virginia defense to Norman next. The Mountaineers will also be a September test.
The bad news, this Oklahoma team isn’t as good as Kirk Herbstreit thinks they are. The good news, they still have much more potential than last year.