OU secondary flunks vs. Griffin III, Bears
Report Card: Grading the Sooners after their 45-38 upset loss to Baylor
WACO, Texas -- Oklahoma's defense was sliced and diced by Baylor's Robert Griffin III, who had 551 yards of total offense. Jake Trotter grades the Sooners in their 45-38 loss to the Bears.
Despite playing without favorite target Ryan Broyles, Landry Jones gave OU every chance to win the game. Outside a critical fourth quarter interception, he was on target, especially when the Sooners needed it. He converted six third downs with completions, and would have converted seven had Kenny Stills not dropped the pass. Jones also led OU to a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to tie the game. On those drives, he completed nine of 11 passes for 97 yards, with one of the incompletions being a Dejuan Miller drop. Jones finished the game completing 36 of 51 passes for 447 yards. Factor in what Blake Bell did out of the Belldozer formation (five carries, four touchdowns), and the Sooners got everything they could have hoped for out of their quarterbacks. Jones and Bell came to play.
After rushing for just one yard in the first quarter, Roy Finch and the OU ground game got it going the rest of the night. Finch finished with 95 yards rushing and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. Brandon Williams and Blake Bell added 40 yards on eight carries, and Trey Millard rumbled for a five-yard touchdown.
The wideouts played well at times without Ryan Broyles. But not well enough. Jaz Reynolds (seven catches, 114 yards) and Kenny Stills (six catches, 75 yards), Kameel Jackson (two catches, 24 yards), Trey Franks (three catches, 44 yards), Dejuan Miller (two catches, 22 yards) and tight end James Hanna (four catches, 90 yards) were all productive. But Reynolds, Stills and Miller each had critical drops, and Trey Franks fumbled the ball away on a promising drive.
Offensive line: B+
The Sooners imposed their will out of the Belldozer formation, which Baylor had no answer for. OU ran the Belldozer six times, leading to five touchdowns and a fourth-down conversion. The offensive line was a big reason for the staggering production. The group, however, did allow Baylor nose guard Nicolas Jean-Baptiste to bust through the middle and sack Landry Jones twice.
Defensive line: C+
Early on, the Sooners did a good job of getting pressure on Robert Griffin III while containing him in the pocket. But after Ronnell Lewis left the game with an MCL knee sprain, the pressure and containment began to wane, especially on the final drive when Griffin twice ran wild for big gains. The Sooners did a decent job against Baylor's ground game, and David King turned Griffin back on a critical fourth-and-one in the third quarter.
Tom Wort and Corey Nelson had solid games, each totaling a team-high nine tackles. The two also did a decent job of spying on Griffin on obvious pass downs. But the linebackers also gave up some plays in the pass, and didn't do much to help out a secondary that was on its heels all night.
The worst performance by an OU secondary in years. The damage could have been worse, too. An 80-yard touchdown was called back on a questionable holding call on Baylor's second play from scrimmage. Later, Robert Griffin III overthrew a wide-open receiver for what would have been an 85-yard touchdown. Javon Harris accounted for several of those big plays, but he wasn't the only one to blame. He wasn't even on the field for that final drive, when Baylor went 80 yards in under a minute capped by Robert Griffin touchdown pass that sailed between Demontre Hurst and Sam Proctor, who had replaced Harris. Cornerback Jamell Fleming also gave up a couple of big plays in the pass. Most troubling, despite giving up so many big plays, the secondary didn't come up with a single turnover the entire night. Dismal collective performance.
Special teams: A
The Sooners are quickly becoming a solid unit on special teams. Trey Franks had several spirited kickoff returns and Kenny Stills was solid filling in for Ryan Broyles on punt returns. Michael Hunnicutt was also tremendous, nailing a 47-yard field goal in the first quarter. He also was perfect on extra points, including a pressure-packed attempt from the 7-yard line after a false start that tied the game with under a minute to play.
Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Submit questions to his mailbag and look for answers every Friday.
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