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2007 Oklahoma Sooners

Collegefootballnews.com
Posted Dec 31, 2007


2007 Oklahoma Sooners Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews


2007 Oklahoma Sooners

Recap: While the Sooners won a second straight Big 12 championship, beating high-flying Missouri twice, many will remember their final game, an uninspired Fiesta Bowl loss to West Virginia.  Oklahoma's fourth BCS bowl loss in-a-row sort of overshadowed an otherwise solid season that included defeats of Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Miami to go along with the two wins over Mizzou.  The past season also marked the debut of freshman QB Sam Bradford, the nation's passing efficiency leader and a young cornerstone of the program.             

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Sam Bradford

Defensive Player of the Year: LB Curtis Lofton

Biggest Surprise: Bradford.  He was a blue-chipper coming out of high school, yes, but even the most optimistic Sooner fan didn't expect him to throw a freshman-record 36 touchdown passes, while playing with the poise of a third-year starter.  Although it's early, Bradford has the stuff to be the best ever to play quarterback in Norman.  

Biggest Disappointment: After steamrolling through the first four opponents, Oklahoma's season veered off course with a head-scratching 27-24 loss to Colorado.  Even worse than the loss itself was the fact that the Sooners blew a cushy 17-point bulge in the second half, allowing an unsure Buffalo offense to score the final 20 points of the game.      

Looking Ahead: With as much returning talent as any team in the league, Oklahoma will be right back on track for another Big 12 championship and a run at a national title.  After sharing carries and getting hurt late in his freshman season, dynamic RB DeMarco Murray is set to make a national splash in 2008.

- 2007 OU Preview  
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2006 OU Season

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
10-2
2007 Record: 11-3


Sept. 1
North Texas W 79-10
Sept. 8 Miami W 51-13
Sept. 15 Utah State W 54-3
Sept. 21 at Tulsa W 62-21
Sept. 29 at Colorado L 27-24
Oct. 6 vs. Texas W 28-21
Oct. 13
Missouri W 41-31
Oct. 20 at Iowa State W 17-7
Nov. 3 Texas A&M W 42-14
Nov. 10
Baylor W 52-21
Nov. 17 at Texas Tech L 34-27
Nov. 24 Oklahoma State W 49-17
Big 12 Championship
Dec. 1 Missouri W 38-17
Fiesta Bowl
Jan. 2 West Virginia L 48-28

Jan. 2
2008 Fiesta Bowl
West Virginia 48 ... Oklahoma 28

In the stunner of the bowl season, West Virginia ran for 349 yards with home run after home run. Up 6-3, the Mountaineers got a 57-yard touchdown run from Owen Schmitt in the second quarter, and the passing game helped out with Pat White hitting a wide open Darius Reynaud with a 21-yard touchdown pass and later on a 79-yard strike to Tito Gonzalez. Reynaud ran for a 30-yard touchdown dash late in the third quarter, and Noel Devine tore off scoring runs from 17 and 65 yards. Oklahoma had a few chances to get in the game, but rarely took advantage of its opportunities. A one-yard Chris Brown touchdown run midway through the third quarter got the Sooners within five, but Sam Bradford misfired on a two-point conversion attempt, an onside kick attempt was recovered by West Virginia, and the Mountaineers opened the game up from there going 39 yards in six plays culminating in Devine's first scoring dash.
Offensive Player of the Game: West Virginia QB Pat White completed 10 of 19 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns and ran 20 times for 150 yards
Defensive Player of the Game: West Virginia LB Reed Williams made nine tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and forced a fumble
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 21-33, 242 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Allen Patrick, 14-82. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 8-43, 1 TD
West Virginia - Passing: Pat White, 10-19, 176 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Pat White, 20-150. Receiving: Darius Reynaud, 5-42, 1 TD

Thoughts & Notes ...
5 Thoughts on the Fiesta Bowl ... Fiesta Bowl Stream of Consciousness Quarter By Quarter Game Notes ...Penalties played a huge role. West Virginia committed eight for 110 yards, but OU didn't take full advantage. 13 Sooner sins accounted for 113 yards with several killing promising drives and kick returns. ... Oklahoma looked stunningly unprepared. West Virginia executed perfectly for a full sixty minutes, but OU time and again overran plays, were out of position, and made big mistakes. ... West Virginia wasn't able to maintain the same effectiveness in the pass rush for a full sixty minutes, but it dominated early on and came up with the key hits on Sam Bradford when it had to. ... OU's Curtis Lofton had one of the emptiest 15 tackle games you'll ever see. ... West Virginia averaged 8.9 yards per carry. Let that sink in for a moment.

Dec. 1
Big 12 Championship
Oklahoma 38 ... Missouri 17

Oklahoma opened up a tight game with a dominant second half outscoring the Tigers 24-3. San Bradford threw two second half touchdown passes with a five-yard scoring toss to Jermaine Gresham coming off a Curtis Lofton interception to open things up. Allen Patrick ran for a four-yard score and Chris Brown added two second quarter scores. Missouri made it interesting at the end of the first half with a four-yard Chase Daniel touchdown run with 14 seconds to play, and a tie going into the locker room, on a reverse pass to Martin Rucker. The two teams combined for 20 penalties for 206 yards.
Player of the game: Oklahoma LB Curtis Lofton made nine tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack, and an interception.
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 18-26, 209 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Allen Patrick, 13-88, 1 TD. Receiving: Joe Jon Finley, 5-34, 1 TD
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 23-39, 219 yds, 1 INT
Rushing:
Jeremy Maclin, 4-40. Receiving: Jeremy Maclin, 8-69

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
When everything's clicking, only LSU can play with the Sooners. The O line gave Sam Bradford time, D.J. Wolfe and Curtis Lofton led a great defensive performance that held the Missouri offense under 30 points for the first time all season long, and everything clicked in the second half to make it a laugher. There were way too many penalties (13) and the Tiger offense was able to get a few too many first downs early on, but that's nitpicking. This was a dominant performance in yet another title season.

Nov. 24
Oklahoma 49 ... Oklahoma State 17
Oklahoma roared out to a 14-0 lead on an Allen Patrick touchdown catch from 11 yards out and a five-yard run, and after a 16-yard Dantrell Savage run to pull the Cowboys within seven at the end of the first quarter, Chris Brown tore off a three-yard scoring run and Sam Bradford and Joe Jon Finley hooked up for the first of two touchdowns. The Sooners pulled away in the final 17 minutes with a 21 unanswered points on Patrick's third score of the day and two Bradford touchdown passes.
Player of the game: Oklahoma RB Allen Patrick ran 29 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns, and caught a pass for an 11-yard score
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 11-15, 150 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Allen Patrick, 29-202, 2 TD. Receiving: Joe Jon Finley, 3-38, 2 TD
Oklahoma State - Passing: Zac Robinson, 8-20, 105 yds, 1 TD
Rushing:
Dantrell Savage, 19-108 yds, 1 TD. Receiving: Dez Bryant, 5-69

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... No one rallies like Oklahoma does. After a tough loss to Texas Tech, the team lit up Oklahoma State with a breathtakingly efficient performance with Sam Bradford only making one mistake on an interception, and Allen Patrick stepping up and shining after a bad game against the Red Raiders. Now it's on to the Big 12 Championship game, but can the Sooners play well away from home? If Bradford is this effective, and if the defense swarms like it did against the dangerous and balanced Cowboy attack, there won't be any problems.

Nov. 17
Texas Tech 34 ... Oklahoma 27
Graham Harrell threw 72 times with touchdown passes to Michael Crabtree and Erick Norris, to go along with a touchdown run, as Texas Tech got up 34-10 midway through the third quarter. And then things got interesting as OU got a 33-yard Garrett Hartley field goal in the third and two Joey Halzle to Manuel Johnson touchdown passes, connecting from 65 and nine yards out, in the fourth. The Red Raiders recovered the onside kick after the second score and was able to run out the clock. OU scored first on a 63-yard Lendy Holmes interception return, but later in the first quarter lost QB Sam Bradford to a concussion following an interception.
Player of the game: Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell completed 47 of 72 passes fro 420 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, and ran 12 yards for a score.
Stat Leaders: Oklahoma - Passing: Joey Halzle, 21-41, 291 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: DeMarco Murray, 19-94. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 7-73
Texas Tech - Passing: Graham Harrell, 47-72, 420 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
Aaron Crawford, 12-47, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Crabtree, 12-154, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
There was a question about Oklahoma on the road. Texas Tech answered that. There was a question about the Oklahoma secondary. Texas Tech answered that. But after the loss, there are two big questions. 1) How hurt are Sam Bradford, who suffered a concussion, and RB DeMarco Murray, who apparently suffered a leg injury of some sort, on the late onside kick? 2) Why didn't OU commit to the run earlier? With Bradford out, Joey Halzle was bombing away from the start when it should've been all about the Sooner offensive line, and the running of Murray and Chris Brown, to try to take control of the game. The national title is gone, and the Big 12 South goes bye-bye if OU loses to Oklahoma State next week.

Nov. 10
Oklahoma 52 ... Baylor 21
DeMarco Murray ran for scores from 25, one and 21 yards out, and returned a kickoff 91 yards for a score as Oklahoma blew past a Baylor team that got its offense rolling. Brandon Whitaker tore off a 46-yard run to get the Bears on the board first, and then the Sooners bounced back with 21 straight points on two of Murray's scoring runs and a 51-yard Malcolm Kelly touchdown. Baylor kept pushing with a 75-yard Thomas White scoring catch, but Murray ended the drama with his kickoff return for a score in the final minute of the first half. OU put it away in the third quarter on Manuel Johnson touchdown catches from 60 and 13 yards.
Player of the game: Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray ran 13 times for 95 yards and three touchdowns, caught two passes for 19 yards, and returned three kickoffs for 91 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Baylor - Passing: Blake Szymanski, 25-42, 280 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Brandon Whitaker, 15-149, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon Whitaker, 10-68
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 20-25, 353 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
DeMarco Murray, 13-96, 3 TD. Receiving: Manuel Johnson, 4-126, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Oklahoma didn't necessarily bring its A game against Baylor, at least defensively, but it didn't need to with the offense cranking out 533 yards and DeMarco Murray and Manuel Johnson taking control when needed. While this was a relatively easy win, the defense has to play far better next week against Texas Tech, or everything that's been set up so nicely could quickly be washed away. The national title spot could be there for the taking by winning out, but style points count. OU has to convince the world that it's better than a one-loss Oregon team.

Nov. 3
Oklahoma 42 ... Texas A&M 14
Oklahoma TE Jermaine Greshman tied a school record with four touchdown catches, scoring from three, 13, 38 and 13 yards out, and QB Sam Bradford added a fifth touchdown pass to Chris Brown on the way to a 35-0 lead going into the fourth quarter. Texas A&M got two scores on a 23-yard Martellus Bennett catch and a one-yard Chris Alexander run, but the game had already been decided long before. The Aggie twosome of Mike Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane were held to 56 yards on 12 carries.
Player of the game: Oklahoma TE Jermaine Gresham caught five passes for 80 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Stephen McGee, 15-28, 155 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Stephen McGee, 16-71. Receiving: Martellus Bennett, 4-63, 1 TD
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 21-30, 284 yds, 5 TD
Rushing:
Allen Patrick & DeMarco Murray, 15-70. Receiving: Jermiane Gresham, 5-80, 4 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... With two weeks off to prepare for Texas A&M after the lousy game at Iowa State, the offense was razor sharp. The coaching staff obviously discovered a mismatch over the time off, getting the ball to tight end Jermaine Gresham on the move. The Aggies didn't have anyone who could stick with him, and Sam Bradford, getting a world of time, was able to find him early on to make the game a laugher. The running game was fine, but nothing spectacular. All the stars will get their time in against Baylor next week before dealing with a shootout with Texas Tech.

Oct. 20
Oklahoma 17 ... Iowa State 7
In windy conditions, Oklahoma got two short Chris Brown touchdown runs in the second half, but it needed a D.J. Wolfe interception in the end zone with just over three minutes to play to survive the scare. The offense came up with a 43-yard Garrett Hartley field goal to finally provide some breathing room. Oklahoma only gained 316 yards of total offense, but the defense held ISU to 269.
Player of the game: Oklahoma S D.J. Wolfe made 11 tackles, one tackle for loss and an interception in the end zone.
Stat Leaders: Iowa State - Passing: Bret Meyer, 19-31, 174 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Jason Scales, 22-46, 1 TD. Receiving: Marquis Hamilton, 7-88
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 16-28, 183 yds, 1 INT
Rushing:
DeMarco Murray, 9-59. Receiving: Manuel Johnson, 5-46
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is wind that big a deal to the Oklahoma offense? Sam Bradford had a decent day against Iowa State, but he seemed to struggle when the wind was involved with a few too many errant throws. This was wear the running game should've taken over, and against the mediocre Cyclone defense, it only gained 133 yards. This might have been a close call against a horrible team, but the defense played extremely well. However, it's going to have to be better over the next month, and getting two weeks off before facing Texas A&M should help.

Oct. 13
Oklahoma 41 ... Missouri 31
Chris Brown ran for three second half touchdowns and Curtis Lofton returned a fumble for a 12-yard touchdown as Oklahoma stormed from behind in the fourth quarter for the win. Missouri had all the momentum with a ten-yard Jeremy Maclin scoring run, his second touchdown of the day, and a four-yard Jimmy Jackson scoring run, for a 24-23 lead at the end of the third quarter, but OU went on a 12-play, 66-yard march with Brown running for a one-yard score to take the lead, and then came up with the nail in the coffin as Lofton came up with his big play. Brown added a 17-yard scoring run with 2:39 to play for insurance. Mizzou outgained OU 418 yards to 384, but only came up with 57 rushing yards and average 1.9 yards per carry.
Player of the game: Oklahoma LB Curtis Lofton made 18 tackles and took a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 37-47, 361 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jeremy Maclin, 4-32, 2 TD. Receiving: Chase Coffman, 10-102
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 24-34, 266 yds, 2 TD
Rushing:
Chris Brown, 13-67, 3 TD. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 7-77, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense wasn't a rock against Missouri, but it was great when it had to be, and it withstood the pressure of Chase Daniel throwing and throwing some more. The four takeaways helped save the day, but so did a fantastic performance from the offensive line that gave Sam Bradford time to work. Bradford didn't make any big mistakes, and helped keep the chains moving as OU converted ten of 14 third down conversions. Unfortunately, the Tigers didn't get much in the way of national respect before the game, but even so, this win shows OU deserves to be considered among the best teams in America.

Oct. 6
Oklahoma 28 ... Texas 21
In a battle of dueling passing quarterbacks, OU's Sam Bradford got more time, didn't make any big mistakes, and threw three touchdown passes with two short tosses to Jermaine Gresham before breaking a 21-21 tie with a 35-yard throw to Malcolm Kelly. OU's DeMarco Murray, who finished with 128 yards, cranked out a 65-yard scoring dash for the only points of the third. Colt McCoy came up with a six-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Shipley, and a 22-yarder to Jermichael Finley, but was under pressure all game long. Even so, a one-yard Vondrell McGee touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter tied it, but after Kelly's touchdown, Texas didn't do anything with its three final drives.
Player of the game: Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford completed 21 of 32 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 19-26, 324 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Jamaal Charles, 17-79. Receiving: Jermichael Finley, 4-149, 1 TD
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 21-32, 244 yds, 3 TD
Rushing:
DeMarco Murray, 17-128, 1 TD. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 6-99
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It wasn't exactly a crisp performance against Texas, with a slew of little mistakes costing the team field position and killing drives, along with a few key missed tackles allowing for a few too many long gains. However, the offensive line redeemed itself after the Colorado game, Sam Bradford was cool and calm, and the running game, thanks to DeMarco Murray, showed its explosiveness, even though it wasn't consistent. One of the big differences of the game was the play of the receivers, with Juaquin Iglesias and Malcolm Kelly outplaying the Texas targets (outside of TE Jemichael Finley).

Sept. 29
Colorado 27 ... Oklahoma 24
Kevin Eberhart nailed a 45-yard field goal as time ran out to cap a run of 20 unanswered Colorado points to stun Oklahoma. The Sooner offense came up with two Allen Patrick touchdown runs, from 34 and 17 yards out, and started off the scoring with a 13-yard Juaquin Iglesias grab, but the high-powered attack was held to just 230 yards of total offense with three turnovers. The Buff defense helped give the offense great field position over the final 20 minutes, with scoring drives of just 50, 62, 16 and 23 yards. Cody Hawkins connected with Tyson DeVree for a four-yard score, and Dusty Sprague for a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Colorado LB Jordan Dixon made 7.5 tackles and a sack
Stat Leaders: Colorado - Passing: Cody Hawkins, 22-36, 220 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Hugh Charles, 24-110, 1 TD. Receiving: Hugh Charles, 5-48
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 8-19, 112 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
Allen Patrick, 18-96, 2 TD. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 2-15, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... How did Colorado beat Oklahoma? For the first time all year, QB Sam Bradford was under consistent pressure, and while the Buffs were only able to come up with one sack, they forced several hurries and were killers on third downs. The offense couldn't run when it needed to in the second half, and CU was able to hang on to the ball for over 21 minutes in the second half; the OU defense was gassed. It's oversimplifying things to suggest CU seemed like it wanted it more, but once the defense started getting on a roll, and OU's offense stopped having success, the machine broke down. Defensively, the Sooners have got to figure out how to handle the deep plays across the middle.

Sept. 21
Oklahoma 62 ... Tulsa 21
Oklahoma's offense exploded with Sam Bradford connecting with Juaquin Iglesias for two or his three touchdown passes and Allen Patrick rushing for two scores and DeMarco Murray running for a touchdown and taking a punt for a score. Tulsa's offense moved the ball well, and even scored first with a 15-yard Jesse Meyer touchdown catch, but the defense couldn't handle the Sooner offensive balance. The Sooners jumped ahead 21-7 highlighted by a 46-yard Iglesias touchdown, and blew it open with a 35-14 halftime lead on a one-yard Patrick run. The Golden Hurricane made it interesting with a Paul Smith rushing touchdown on its opening drive of the second half, but OU scored 27 unanswered points, helped by a 40-yard Iglesias score.
Player of the game: Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford completed 15 of 21 passes for 244 yards and three touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: Tulsa - Passing: Paul Smith, 22-32, 350 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tarrion Adams, 9-44. Receiving: Jesse Meyer, 7-114, 1 TD
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 16-22, 244 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Allen Patrick, 19-145, 2 TD. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 7-141, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Much will be made of OU's issues on defense against Tulsa, but the Golden Hurricane attack is going to roll up yards on everyone. Chalk it up to the Sooners taking a while to adjust and get on track, but even so, after this game, past defensive issues (a certain Fiesta Bowl comes to mind) might make the voters take notice. Hopefully, they'll also have noticed Curtis Lofton, who was all over the field and seemingly in on every play with 14 tackles. And then there's the offense, which continues to be unstoppable with a frightening balance and yet another brilliant performance from Sam Bradford. Once again, the O line was incredible.

Sept. 15
Oklahoma 54 ... Utah State 3
Oklahoma blew away Utah State with 38 points at halftime thanks to three Sam Bradford touchdown passes, including two to Malcolm Kelly, and Allen Patrick tore off a 69-yard touchdown run. Utah State managed a 30-yard Peter Caldwell field goal, but only gained 153 yards and got eight first downs. OU pulled the starters early in the second half, but not before DeMarco Murray tore off a 92-yard touchdown run.
Player of the game: Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford threw for 255 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 19-of-26 passing, and ran for five yards on a pair of carries.
Stat Leaders: Utah State - Passing: Leon Jackson, 9-14, 65 yds 1 INT
Rushing: Curtis Marsh, 11-32. Receiving: Kevin Robinson, 8-38
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 19-26, 255 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing:
Allen Patrick, 8-113, 1 TD. Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 8-123
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Oklahoma is a machine right now. Everything is working on both sides of the ball to near perfection, but then again, it also helps to play a team like Utah State to fatten up the stats. The lines continue to dominate and the defense isn't allowing anything. Sam Bradford actually threw an interception, but that came off a tipped pass after getting hit. It helps to have ten days to throw, and it's a big plus to have a superstar in Malcolm Kelly making play after play. Playing Tulsa next week will at least be a little more of a test before diving into Big 12 play against Colorado.

Sept. 8
Oklahoma 51 ... Miami 13
Sam Bradford threw five touchdowns, with three to Malcolm Kelly, and Reggie Smith returned a fumble 61 yards for a touchdown as Oklahoma annihilated Miami. The Hurricanes appeared ready to make it a game early in the second half after a 45-yard Francesco Zampogna field goal cut the OU lead to 21-13, but the Sooners turned it up a notch and scored the final 30 points of the game. OU backup Joey Halzle even got in on the act with a 61-yard touchdown pass to Adron Tennell in garbage time. Miami's Kyle Wright threw a six-yard scoring pass to Ryan Hill at the end of the first half for Miami's only touchdown.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford completed 19 of 25 passes for 205 yards and five touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Kyle Wright, 7-14, 65 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Javarris James, 8-78  Receiving: Darnell Jenkins, 3-36
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 19-25, 205 yds, 5 TD
Rushing:
DeMarco Murray, 15-64  Receiving: Malcolm Kelly, 4-102, 3 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It's one thing to blow away North Texas. It's another to obliterate Miami. Contrary to how the game looked, Miami's defense is among the most talented in America, but the Sooner offense, humming on all cylinders, had little problems because of one big reason (and it's not Sam Bradford's five touchdowns): the offensive line. The best front five in America has been terrific over the first two games, giving Bradford five days to throw and clearing the way for the ground game. The defense didn't necessarily shut down the Miami attack, but it came close, thanks mostly to the suffocating secondary that never gave the UM quarterbacks anything to look at. With Utah State ahead, it's time to get the backups some work before having to go on the road to face Tulsa and Colorado.

Sept. 1
Oklahoma 79 ... North Texas 10
Sam Bradford was nearly perfect, completing 21 of 23 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns, but he was slightly overshadowed by a five touchdown performance from DeMarco Murray, who scored from 44, one, three, one and three yards out. Malcolm Kelly caught touchdown passes from 65 and 24 yards out, and Nic Harris returned an interception 35 yard for a score as OU was up 63-3 before Casey Fitzgerald scored on a 69-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter.
Player of the game ... Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford completed 21 of 23 passes for 363 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: North Texas - Passing: Giovanni Vizza, 4-11, 124 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Micah Mosley, 5-15  Receiving: Casey Fitzgerald, 7-126, 1 TD
Oklahoma - Passing: Sam Bradford, 21-23, 363 yds, 3 TD
Rushing:
Mossis Madu, 9-87, 1 TD  Receiving: Juaquin Iglesias, 7-128
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Boise State this. Could Sam Bradford have asked for a better start to his career? Not only was he incredible against North Texas, but DeMarco Murray, with his five touchdown runs, showed he's ready to be the star he appeared ready to become this off-season. Fine, so it was against a severely overmatched UNT team, but after the Fiesta Bowl and a weird off-season, the program needed this before facing Miami. If the offensive line plays like it did this week, there won't be any problems.

Sept. 1 - North Texas
Offense: The offense hasn't moved the ball in two years finishing 117th in the nation last season in yards and 115th in scoring. The look of the attack will change dramatically as new head coach Todd Dodge will incorporate his spread attack in an attempt to get something going. The backfield is solid with RB Jamario Thomas leading the way and a slew of veteran, yet mediocre quarterbacks returning. The receiving corps will need a while to jell with all the talent in the incoming freshman class, while the line will be a major problem early on.
Defense: The defense improved dramatically after making a drastic move to the 3-4. Now it'll go back to a traditional 4-3 and hope the overall experience and depth will pay off with more big plays after forcing just 14 turnovers. The linebackers will be solid with the return of Maurice Holman, Brandon Monroe and Derek Mendoza, while Aaron Weathers anchors a secondary that should be better in time. Generating a pass rush from the front four is a must, but Jeremiah Chapman will be a good end to work around.


Sept. 8 - Miami
Offense: After a miserably inconsistent year finishing 87th in the nation in both total and scoring offense, the attack needs to play up to its talent level. The backfield will be amazing with Javarris James and true freshman Graig Cooper each good enough star for just about anyone in the country. The line has potential with two good tackles in Jason Fox and Reggie Youngblood to work around, and now the passing game has to be far better. The Kyle Wright vs. Kirby Freeman quarterback battle will be an ongoing debate, and the receiving corps has to step up and be better. Lance Leggett emerging as a true number one target would be a start.
Defense: The defense finished seventh in the nation last year despite not getting any help from the offense. The starting 11 should be good enough to shut everyone down, but there will be early concerns with the depth on the defensive line and the secondary. Safety Kenny Phillips and end Calais Campbell might be the two best defensive players in the nation, and everything will revolve around them; they must stay healthy. The linebacking corps might not have name stars, but it'll be a rock against the run with a good rotation of talents.


Sept. 15 - Utah State
Offense: The offense did next to nothing last season scoring fewer than 14 points seven times and finishing averaging 10.83 points and 254 yards per game. The offensive line isn't bad and the starting receivers, led by Kevin Robinson, are solid, but the quarterback situation isn't settled with Riley Nelson out on a church mission, and there's no experience whatsoever at running back after Marcus Cross transferred. Basically, the attack needs to find one thing it can do well.
Defense:
If experience counts for anything, the Aggies should be far better with 11 returning starters and a ton of veteran backups ready to fill in. Now the defense has to stop someone after getting ripped apart by just about everyone. How bad did things get? The Aggies allowed an average of 48.8 points per game over the final five games. Ben Calderwood leads an undersized line that has to do more to get into the backfield. The corners are way too small, the linebackers are way too small, and the tackles are way too small. If the overall team quickness isn't accounting for big plays, there will be problems.


Sept. 22 – at Tulsa
Offense: Can Gus Malzahn's hurry-up, no-huddle offense really work at this level … take two.  All the buzz about Malzahn's fancy playbook fizzled in Fayetteville last year, but unlike at Arkansas, Tulsa coach Tood Graham is on board and prepared to see all of the offense's bell and whistles.  The system aims to control the tempo, physically and mentally wear out opponents, and sort of run a two-minute offense for four quarters.  Senior quarterback Paul Smith is liable to go berserk running this offense, but a makeshift offensive line and a whole new set of receivers will be two major stumbling blocks.  When the Hurricane runs the ball, it'll turn to senior Courtney Tennial and junior Tarrion Adams, arguably the best running duo in Conference USA.   
Defense: Head coach Todd Graham brings the 3-3-5 and a very aggressive style back to Tulsa, where he led the defense from 2003-2005.  The fact that he coached and recruited many of this year's players should make for a smoother-than-expected transition.  Graham will showcase a swarming unit that brings turnovers back to Tulsa.  In his final season as the defensive coordinator, the Hurricane had 36 takeaways.  Without him last year? 14.  The strength is at linebacker, which features three senior starters and Nelson Coleman, one of the nation's best middle linebackers you've never seen play.  With so much over pursuing going on in 2007, a retooled secondary could give up as many big plays this year as it has in the last two combined.

Sept. 29 – at Colorado
Offense: Call this a stepping-stone season for the offense before it explodes in 2008. The overall production can't help but be better after averaging a Big 12-worst 291 yards and 16 points per game. There are too many ifs. If a backup can emerge behind top running back Hugh Charles, and if all the problems this spring finding healthy offensive linemen go away, and if the veteran receiving corps can prove that it's better than last season showed, and if Cody Hawkins and/or Nick Nelson can shine right away at quarterback, the Buffs should start to have the offense that Buff fans expected when Dan Hawkins was hired.
Defense: The defense was better than it every got credit for considering the offense provided no help whatsoever. The starting 11, in whatever configuration that turns out to be, should be excellent as long as a pass rush is found from the ends. The linebacking corps will be the strength with tackling-machine Jordon Dizon leading the way. George Hypolite and Brandon Nicolas form an excellent tackle tandem to work around, while Terrence Wheatley is an All-Big 12 corner to handle everyone's number one. Now there needs to be more from the secondary, and the run defense has to be as strong as it was last year despite losing key linemen Abraham Wright and Walter Boye-Doe.


Oct. 6 - Texas
Offense: This might be the best offense yet under head coach Mack Brown, with one bump in the road: the line. The starting five will be fine, but there's absolutely no depth at tackle. While that's the concern, the skill players will be fantastic with a deep, talented receiving corps that welcomes back the top four targets, Jamaal Charles and a speedy backfield, and Colt McCoy to lead the show. Now a seasoned veteran, McCoy will run more than last year while making more plays on the move. Expect plenty of scoring, plenty of explosiveness, and a top five finish in total offense ... as long as the line holds up.
Defense: Duane Akina goes from co-defensive coordinator to the head man in charge, and there will be changes. Last year's defense was all about stopping the run, and the talented secondary got torched. This year's D will focus on doing everything, with an eye towards being more aggressive and generating more pressure. The strength is at tackle and in the linebacking corps, with NFL caliber talent that should keep the Longhorns among the nation's leaders against the run. The ends will be fine, in time, and they'll get to pin their ears back and go to the quarterback. All the pressure should help out a secondary in transition, with only one starter returning from a group that loses Thorpe Award winner Aaron Ross and All-American Michael Griffin.

Oct. 13 - Missouri
Offense: If all the parts are working as expected, this should be one of the nation's five most productive offenses with an embarrassment of riches to work with. Junior QB Chase Daniel is growing into a star leader with more than enough weapons to choose from. The tight end combination of Martin Rucker and Chase Coffman is the best in the nation, Will Franklin can fly on the outside, and Tony Temple leads a small, quick backfield that'll rip through the holes created by a talented, experienced line. The problems? Consistency and proven play in crunch time. The numbers are going to be there, but they have to come against the top teams in the big games.
Defense: The whole will be greater than the sum of the parts. A pass rush will emerge eventually from the outside linebackers as well as end Stryker Sulak, while Brock Christopher has the makings of an All-Big 12 performer at middle linebacker. The secondary will be fine thanks to the return of starting corners Darnell Terrell and Hardy Ricks, but replacing safeties David Overstreet and Brandon Massey won't be easy. There's tremendous speed and athleticism in the back seven, several good young players to get excited about among the backups, and an excellent tackle pair in Evander Hood and Lorenzo Williams to anchor things up front. Now the D has to prove it can come through on a consistent basis against the top teams.


Oct. 20 – at Iowa State
Offense: Bret Meyer might be the Big 12's best quarterback, Todd Blythe is an All-America caliber receiver leading a good corps, and in time, Jason Scales and JUCO transfer J.J. Bass will be strong runners. None of it will matter if the line doesn't go from abysmal to at least mediocre. That might be a problem with four starters gone and no developed depth whatsoever. The team will rely on a slew of JUCO transfer and career benchwarmers to patch together a front five that will try to allow fewer than the 38 sacks given up last year. Expect Meyer to be everything for the offense with the passing game front and center early on. Because of the concerns on the line, Meyer will use his mobility to try to buy time and get the ball out of his hands quicker while on the move.
Defense: A complete and total disaster last season, defensive coordinator Wayne Bolt has his work cut out for him with a mediocre collection of talents and few obvious stars to build around other than outside linebackers Alvin Bowen and Jon Banks. The defensive front should be more aggressive and better at getting into the backfield, but will the lack of size cost them in the running game? For a while, yes. The secondary is the bigger concern after giving up yards in bunches and without a true number one cover-corner to count on. Linebacker is the strength to build around, and it could be even better if Adam Carper returns ready to go from a knee injury.


Nov. 3 - Texas A&M
Offense: Run, run, and run some more. The Aggies finished last year eighth in the nation in rushing, and now the line should be even better with four legitimate All-Big 12 candidates paving the way for the devastating rushing tandem of Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson. QB Stephen McGee was better than anyone could've hoped for last year taking over for Reggie McNeal, and while he might not throw only two interceptions again, he'll be one of the league's best all-around quarterbacks. The tight end tandem of Martellus Bennett and Joey Thomas would get all the conference attention if it wasn't for Missouri's tremendous pair, but the receivers are suspect and could be the Achilles heel if there Earvin Taylor doesn't have a huge season.
Defense: First of all, realize what amazing strides the defense made under defensive coordinator Gary Darnell. The pass defense was the worst in the nation in 2005 and became more than just respectable last season in a 4-2-5 alignment that led to a solid year until the Holiday Bowl meltdown against Cal. There wasn't enough of a pass rush outside of Chris Harrington, but that could change if tackle Red Bryant is healthy again and occupies two blockers on the inside. There aren't any all-stars in the back seven, but it's a good, sound group that will do just enough to get by.


Nov. 10 - Baylor
Offense: After making the change to a Texas Tech-like passing attack, the Bears threw well, but did absolutely nothing for the running game, finishing dead last in the nation averaging just 40.17 yards per game. There will be more emphasis on running the ball, but this will still be a passing attack. First, BU has to find someone to throw, and someone to catch. It'll be a three-way battle for the starting quarterback job, with former Kent State Golden Flash Michael Machen the leader in the race, while the two star receivers of last season are gone. Several young players have to turn into reliable targets, while Brandon Whitaker has to try to provide some semblance of a rushing attack behind a line that should be a bit better.
Defense:
Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. Baylor didn't come up with any last year, and it affected the entire defense. With only 11 sacks and 51 tackles for loss, BU let opposing quarterbacks spend all day to throw, and the secondary struggled. Worse yet, the run defense was awful. Now, there's hope for improvement in the 4-2-5 alignment with promising tackles in Vincent Rhodes and Trey Bryant, along with tackling machine Joe Pawelek at linebacker. The secondary has more raw talent than last year, but not a lot of experience, so it'll be up to veteran ends Jason Lamb and Geoff Nelson to finally produce some sort of pressure on the quarterback.

Nov. 17 – at Texas Tech
Offense: On the surface, there might appear to be a world of problems. The quarterback situation is allegedly up for grabs, the star running back practiced like he was too secure and got booted to third string, almost all the top receivers are gone, and four starters have to be replaced on the line. Don't shed too many tears. Graham Harrell had a great spring and will be the staring quarterback once again, Shannon Woods will get back in everyone's good graces this fall and be a top back, and Michael Crabtree might be the best receiver the program has had in several years. Of course, it all goes kaput if the line doesn't come together quickly, but Mike Leach and his coaching staff have dealt with worse. There might be question marks, but there's also a whole bunch of talented prospects. This will be one of the nation's five best passing offenses once again, but it might not be consistent.
Defense: This D will be a major part in several shootouts, and not in a good way. The secondary will be the strength, and it's not even close, with a pair of all-star safeties in Darcel McBath and Joe Garcia, along with star corner Chris Parker. The front seven is a major problem, especially the defensive line, with no depth and only one starter returning. The linebacking corps isn't all that big, but it's fast and should be good in time. Expect good running teams to be able to rumble at will.

Nov. 24 - Oklahoma State
Offense: The potential is there for the nation's 16th best offense and seventh best scoring attack to be even better. Quarterback Bobby Reid lived up to the hype last season and proved he could be a star. While he loses a great target in D'Juan Woods, he gets Adarius Bowman back to go along with a slew of speedy but unproven receivers to stretch the field. The 1-2 rushing punch of Dantrell Savage and Keith Toston is among the fastest and most dangerous in America running behind a decent line that has experience, but will be a work in progress to find the right starting combination.
Defense: If nothing else, the defense was certainly interesting with an aggressive style that produced a ton of sacks, plenty of tackles for loss, and gave up too many big plays. New defensive coordinator Tim Beckman will tone things down a little bit while still taking the fight to the offense. The back seven will be terrific with a fantastic linebacking corps, even with top middle man Rodrick Johnson playing end and star Chris Collins trying to get through knee and off-the-field problems, while the secondary will strong as long as injuries don't hit the safeties. Experience on the line, especially at tackle, will be an issue early on, but the starting ends, Marque Fountain and Nathan Peterson, will be all-stars.


 

 
   

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