As the Oklahoma Sooners and UCLA Bruins clashed in Norman, nerves ran rampant between the two. On one side of the equation lay an offense looking for redemption after a week one loss. On the opposite side, one defense hoped to prove capable of carrying the program to victory time and time again. Pitting two unproven units against one another set the stage for the meeting of two Power 5 schools inside the Palace on the Prairie.
Three Quick Takeaways
Kyler Murray Can Do It All
Throughout the duration of the contest, the Sooner line struggled to execute the staple of Lincoln Riley’s run scheme — the counter/guard pull. Without that single facet of the offense in operation, much of the pressure fell on quarterback Kyler Murray to make plays not only with his arm, but also with his feet.
The one area the offensive line excelled in was certainly pass protection. In the sixth start of his career, the starter, Murray threw the ball 33 times completing 19 of those attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Of course, the first year starter tossed the first interception of the year as well marking the only blemish on the record thus far.
Yet, Murray also led the team not only in carries but also rushing yards. Much of that could be attributed to the loss of Rodney Anderson who suffered an injury in the first quarter. Regardless, the quarterback ran the ball ten times for 69 yards and two more scores. With the dual threat athlete in the backfield, the options are limitless as OU opens up the playbook.
Special Teams Remain Special
Last week, special teams scored a single touchdown en route to a victory. Following up the performance, Tre Brown provided a spark for the rest of the team with an 86 yard punt return. Proving just how dangerous he can be, Brown rattled off another long return of 35 yards during the outing.
Combining with Brown in the effort, Ceedee Lamb made the most of kickoff returns. Securing the ball, the receiver surveyed the field finding an opening. Advancing the ball 66 yards up the field, a single tackler spoiled the idea of crossing the goal line. In total, the two return men racked up 184 yards on four opportunities.
These two are setting up for a special year on special teams.
A Much Improved Run Defense
Playing numerous underclassmen throughout the defense, many fans hoped for improvements across the board. Clearly the talent level continues to rise as the youngsters put on a showcase throughout the contest. In my opinion, the most impressive unit remained the front seven on Saturday against UCLA.
Running the ball 50 times, the Oklahoma defense held their opponent to 134 total yards on the ground. The numbers average out to 2.6 yards per carry — any program would glad accept that type of day. Ronnie Perkins and Curtis Bolton ruled the day early to set the tone for the rest of the group. Securing five sacks in the first half alone helped erase any mental mistakes from other players.