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Recap: The Sooners Coast by South Dakota

The Sooners beat South Dakota on Saturday night by just about as bad as you would expect.

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Quarterback Jalen Hurts of the Oklahoma Sooners runs against the South Dakota - Getty Images - Brett Deering
Getty Images - Brett Deering

To nobody’s surprise, the Sooners rolled past the South Dakota Coyotes with a commanding 70-14 victory. The Sooners moved to a record of 2-0 and the Coyotes dropped to 0-2. OU didn’t play down to the competition, but instead pounded the opponent like good teams should do.

Although the lopsided win, there were several question marks that came out of Saturday’s game that superior opponents will take advantage of if not shored up. Penalties haunted OU all night long, and the poor left tackle play still needs to be addressed.

To start the game, OU looked sloppy with holding penalties stalling a few promising drives. Left tackle Erik Swenson struggled, getting beat off the edge by Coyotes star defensive end Darin Greenfield who was in the backfield consistently. Swenson ended the night with two holding penalties, right tackle Adrian Ealy had one, and left guard R.J. Proctor had one.

It’s hard to be critical of an offensive line that helped lead the Sooners to 310 rushing yards and 423 passing yards, but against good teams, holding penalties will kill drives and really hurt the team. The Sooners need to tighten up their offensive tackle play to truly be national championship contenders. Look for offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh to shake up some things and get the five best players on the field before Big 12 play starts up.

Jalen Hurts and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb found an early connection and never lost it. Lamb finished the night with 144 yards receiving and 1 touchdown on 6 receptions. An early 1st quarter TD catch by Lamb and a 8 yard TD reception by H-back Jeremiah Hall put the Sooners up 14-0 after the first quarter.

The defense forced their first turnover of the season in the early 2nd quarter when defensive tackle Neville Gallimore stripped the ball from Coyote running back Kai Henry and Bookie Radley-Hiles recovered. The defense brought the intensity all night and held the Coyotes scoreless into halftime as the Sooners led 28-0.

To begin the second half, Radley-Hiles had the first interception of his career picking off Coyote quarterback Austin Simmons and running the oskie back 30 yards for a Sooner touchdown.

The score was 49-0 late in the third quarter before South Dakota got on the board when wide receiver Kody Case got free for a 23 yard touchdown catch from Simmons.

Running back Rhamondre Stevenson responded quickly with the offensive play of the game, a 75-yard touchdown dash. This helped put OU on top 56-14 going into the 4th quarter.

Newcomers owned the 4th quarter for the Sooners highlighted by touchdown catches from true freshmen receivers Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges. It was encouraging to see backup quarterbacks Tanner Mordecai and Spencer Rattler pick up right where Hurts left off. The QBs combined for 164 passing yards and 3 touchdown passes. There is little doubt about it. The quarterback room is deep and talented.

The Sooners took care of business like they were supposed to finishing with a 70-14 victory. The offense was an unstoppable machine, and the defense is evolving as they are finding their confidence heading into Los Angeles to face the Bruins on Saturday.

Key Plays

10:43 2nd [SD 2nd & 7 at OU 23] – Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore chases down South Dakota ball carrier Kai Henry from behind forcing a fumble. Sooners’ defensive back Bookie Radley-Hiles recovers the forced fumble giving Alex Grinch and his unit their first turnover of the season.

14:03 3rd [SD 3rd & 14 at SD 31] – Nickel back Bookie Radley-Hiles reads Austin Simmons screen pass, sticks a foot, and intercepts the pass returning the pick 30 yards for a Sooner touchdown increasing the lead to 35-0.

5:29 3rd [OU 1st & 10 at OU 25] – Running back Rhamondre Stevenson takes the handoff sweeping right, sticks a foot cutting upfield, and rumbles for a 75-yard touchdown to make the score 56-7 Sooners.

Key Stats

7 – Quarterback Jalen Hurts has only 7 incompletions on the season completing 34 out of his 41 passing attempts for a 82.9 completion percentage. Again, Lincoln Riley keeps producing the most efficient quarterbacks in college football.

9 – Hurts has 9 total touchdowns on the season throwing for 6 and rushing for 3. The most mind-boggling statistic to me is that he has more total touchdowns than incompletions.

3 – Oklahoma’s defense had 3 total turnovers on the day. After not forcing a turnover in week 1, Coach Grinch’s defense responded by playing fiery defense on Saturday and forcing one forced fumble and two interceptions, one going for a touchdown.

14.4 – Hurts leads college football in passing yards per attempt with 14.4 yards per attempt. Hurts and his receivers have been slaying opposing secondaries with the big plays for chunk yardage.

Players of the Game

  • WR CeeDee Lamb- 6 Rec, 144 YDs, 1 TD
  • QB Jalen Hurts- 14/18, 259 YDs, 3 TDs, 8 CAR, 47 YDs, 95.6 QBR
  • DB Bookie Radley-Hiles- 1 INT returned 30 YDs for a TD, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 TFL

Remaining Thoughts

Speed D Forces Turnovers – No matter who the opponent is, it’s refreshing to see an OU defense force three turnovers in a game, much less one. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch preaches the importance of takeaways, and Saturday that message hit home to his unit. Going forward, in order for the defense to be successful, forcing turnovers is a must. Playing opponents like FCS South Dakota helps build confidence. No doubt, the Sooners have that confidence, and that in itself is a huge step in the positive direction.

Offensive Firepower –  OU’s offense continues to reload year after year with prolific quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. This year is no exception. Through two games, Coach Riley’s offense leads the nation in total yards producing 710 yards per game. The quality of the opposing defenses have been poor, so it will be interesting to see if OU keeps grinding out consistent production as we get into Big 12 action.

Penalties – One of the few negative takeaways from the win was the lack of discipline for the Sooners. OU had 12 penalties adding up to 96 yards. These mistakes aren’t game changing against foes like South Dakota, but the Sooners need to get this cleaned up before the start of Big 12 play.

Young Guns – Saturday was a breakout game for the Sooners’ three true freshman wide receivers. The dynamic trio of Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease, and Trejan Bridges received extensive playing time, and they took advantage of it combining for 8 receptions and 155 receiving yards with each player hauling in a touchdown catch. Be on the lookout for these players to see more time going forward as they showed some serious talent. The cupboard is full and the future is bright.

No Injuries – Maybe the most significant takeaway from Saturday was that the Sooners walked away with no serious injuries. Going into the Rose Bowl this weekend, the Sooners should be completely healthy getting offensive guard Marquis Hayes back from a mild injury that kept him sidelined this past weekend.

Game Highlights

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