NORMAN- The Oklahoma Sooners enter their second bye week of the season with a big win against their rivals the Texas Longhorns, notching their first conference win of the 2020 Big 12 season.
After a topsy turvy start to the conference slate, the Sooners have a win to build on as they continue to strive for consistency to play at a high level.
Tuesday head coach Lincoln Riley, running back T.J. Pledger and offensive lineman Tyrese Robinson talked about consistency, praised quarterback Spencer Rattler and more with no matchup slated for this weekend.
Offense cards signature drive in third quarter against Texas:
While the Oklahoma offense has looked explosive at times this season, they’ve struggled to put in long, sustained drives to allow their defense to recharge on the sideline.
In the third quarter, the offense finally put one of those drives together.
Starting at their own 13, Rattler took his team on a 17 play 87-yard touchdown march, burning just over eight minutes off the clock.
“Starting off with our field position we knew it was going to be a long drive,” Robinson said. “We knew it might be a long one so we had to take everything out of us to complete it.”
Pledger said the key to sustaining the drive was the offense consistently converting on third downs.
“Making competitive catches, offensive line getting push on third downs, being patient and seeing the holes,” Pledger said.
“I think it was a good drive and I think we really just let the game come to us.”
The emergence of wide receiver Theo Wease was important on the drive as well.
Entering the game, Wease had only hauled in seven passes through the first three games.
On just this drive, the sophomore was targeted five times, catching four passes for 30 yards.
Wease’s two longest receptions of the drive both came on third down.
Robinson said it was a drive the offense can build off of going forward as they pushed through adversity to score the touchdown.
“I was tired, I’m not gonna lie. But we had to do what we had to do to push through,” Robinson said. “We did it, so it was good.”
Teammates faith in Rattler reinforced:
How players will respond to adversity can be unpredictable.
When Riley sat Rattler down in the second quarter for redshirt sophomore Tanner Mordecai, he wasn’t sure who would finish out the game.
“Looking at the situation as it was it made the most sense to put Tanner in,” Riley said. “[At] halftime I had a chance to kind of reevaluate it and I felt like the right thing was to get Spencer back in there.”
“He handled it well and was ready to go,” he said.
Before Riley removed Rattler from the game, he had completed just 8-of-13 passes for 74 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and he had also surrendered a fumble.
From halftime on, Rattler was excellent. Not only did he take care of the football, but he was an efficient 15-of-22, passing for 135 yards and two touchdowns.
Pledger said Rattler’s response to the adversity Saturday reinforces the team’s belief in him.
“We’re all ready to lean on him and put our full trust in him,” Pledger said. “When our back is against the wall he doesn’t fold, he sticks his chest out and he’s ready to go to war for us.”
Reinforcements on the way:
Riley confirmed transfer offensive lineman Chris Murray has been granted eligibility by the NCAA, confirming a report from SoonerScoop.com.
Murray transferred from UCLA after starting at guard the past two seasons for the Bruins.
“I believe he will have a chance to contribute for us this year,” Riley said.
“It comes at a good time. You got a bye week, a chance to get him up to speed.”
Murray is a former four-star recruit from power house Mater Dei High School in California.