By: Hunter Cornejo
West Virginia handed Oklahoma their 5th loss of the season, the most for OU since 2014, in a 23-20 win. West Virginia turned to their backup Quarterback Garrett Greene to get the job done, and guess what he did. Greene absolutely demolished the feeble Oklahoma defense rushing for 120 yards on 14 attempts for 2 touchdowns. Greene’s performance is a big reason as to why West Virginia was able to win as he served as a morale booster for the Mountaineers, by having electric runs to pick up first downs, and giving a momentum boosting celebration that led to multiple scores. It is absolutely pathetic that Oklahoma’s defense had an acceptable performance yet, Lebby and Co. only put up 20 points. This is Oklahoma, regardless of how bad this previous coaching staff dismantled this team, this is completely unacceptable. The defense has proven that they will not improve anytime soon, when they hold a team to only 23 points, there is absolutely no reason for us to not escape with a win. Lebby is said to be a top OC in the country, he should be averaging 40-50 points per game, regardless of how bad our QB room is. Let Nick Evers or General Booty play. There is no way they are extremely worse than Dillion Gabriel, both were stellar QBs in high school. Other than Eric Gray the Oklahoma offense had absolutely nothing going for them. Marvin Mims once again struggled, and to be fair it was most likely due to the rain, however his drops were a major reason for West Virginia handing Oklahoma the loss. Mims dropped a wide open touchdown, stalling the drive, he made up for it on a 67 yard reception on the next drive. Dillion Gabriel once again was unacceptable, having many overthrows, going 17-28 for 190 yards and 0 touchdowns. Eric Gray averaged 8.4 yards per carry, carrying the Oklahoma offense to 223 all purpose yards, and scoring 2 touchdowns, Oklahoma’s only offense scores on the day. Among Sooner fans, Gray is constantly regarded as not that great of a back. Although he is not the home run hitter who scores 60+ yard touchdown runs, he is extremely efficient, almost always picking up solid yardage, almost like a .300 hitter in baseball. Danny Stutsman responded to the chatter around the situation with Teddy Lehman, having 14 total tackles, 9 solo, including 0.5 sacks and an interception. DaShaun White once again had another solid performance, making 11 total tackles. Let the freaking freshmen play Ted Roof! The Broken Arrow native, Freshman DB Robert Spears-Jennings once again made the most of his opportunity, laying out the holder, allowing for Billy Bowman to scoop and score for 2 points, he finished the day with 4 tackles. Since this defense is unable to be saved, there is no reason for the freshman to not play. They can not be any worse than some of the 4-5 year vets. Brent Venables did not coach well today, he made many questionable decisions that led to Oklahoma eventually losing. Venables made the call for Zach Schmit to attempt a 46 yard field goal in the pouring rain as well as a strong wind directly at him, Schmit kicked it off the upright and it was no good. The Oklahoma defense was unable to get off the field after this sequence of events as West Virginia kicker Casey Legg used his leg to hand the Sooners the loss, drilling the game winner as time expired. If Venables would’ve let the offense stay on the field, I believe I would be writing a much more enthusiastic article celebrating a win. There is no doubt in my mind that Eric Gray would’ve found a way to pick up 3 yards on 4th down and lead the Sooners to clinch bowl eligibility. Punter Michael Turk had another Ray Guy Award worthy performance today having 4 punts for 186 yards, averaging 46.5 yards per punt. 3 of Turk’s punts were downed inside the 20 yard line, his longest of the day was a booming 55 yarder.
After today’s loss, Oklahoma is facing a strong reality for the 1st time since 1998, that they will not clinch bowl eligibility. Next week Spencer Sanders should be playing for Oklahoma State, and there is no doubt in my mind that Spencer Sanders will put on a Heisman Moment-esque performance against this pathetic Oklahoma defense. Oklahoma has proven that rivalry game or not their performance will not be changed. They were absolutely embarrassed in the Red River Rivalry by Texas, 49-0, and I truly believe the Cowboys will once again embarrass the Sooners in Norman. This will force Oklahoma to have to take down Texas Tech in Lubbock in order to play in a bowl game. Tech will give Oklahoma’s defense a lot of problems as Zach Kittley is their play caller. Kittley, was the OC for the dominant Bailey Zappe led Western Kentucky offense. Odds are Kittley will make sure the Red Raiders put up 500+ yards of offense on Oklahoma. Not only will Oklahoma have to be able to slow down the impressive play calls from the Kitty, but they will also have to be able to make minimal mistakes as they will be playing in a rowdy, tortilla throwing crowd. There is a very good chance that Texas Tech forces the Sooners into a shootout, and if that happens I could very well see the Oklahoma offense being unable to keep up.
Oklahoma takes on Oklahoma State next weekend in Norman. Kickoff and Network are unannounced, but if I had to guess I would predict a 11:00 am kickoff on ESPN or FS1. Even though Oklahoma is very deserving of a 4:00 am kickoff on ESPN Ocho, after today’s pathetic performance.