NORMAN — Oklahoma’s early-season struggles have carried into Big 12 Conference play.
The No. 4-ranked Sooners called upon kicker Gabe Brkic to win the game as time expired, downing the West Virginia Mountaineers 16-13 in the final of four straight home games to open OU’s season.
Though they ultimately emerged with a win, OU’s offensive woes continued as the Sooners finished with just 313 yards of total offense.
Oklahoma will have to come a long way if they hope to repeat as Big 12 Champions, much less make a College Football Playoff, but they’re still 4-0, and that’s all that matters as they travel to face Kansas State next weekend.
Here are three quick takeaways from the OU victory:
The Offensive Line is a Major Problem
While Spencer Rattler has shouldered the brunt of the offensive blame, the offensive line is clearly a major issue.
The Sooners were unable to rush the ball with any consistency, and Rattler was given little time to survey the field even if he wanted to.
At the start of the fourth quarter, OU was still only averaging a measly 2.4 yards per rush, and the lopsided time of possession battle was a result of Oklahoma’s inability to string first downs together.
Rattler’s breakdown in mechanics might be a result of his lack of trust in the unit protecting him, as he continued to have the happy feet which plagued him early last year when he was turning the ball over in bunches.
Andrew Raym’s start at center didn’t seem to help, and Bill Bedenbaugh turned to Wanya Morris early in the second half at left tackle to try to bring any sort of push to that unit.
West Virginia’s defensive line has easily been the biggest test to date for OU in the trenches, and the play of the offensive line has proven to be a major red flag that could hold the offense back all season long.
D-Line Carrying the Team
OU’s inability to move the ball on offense kept the defense on the field for a majority of the game.
Thankfully for the Sooners, the play of the defensive line continued to be one of the few bright spots, and ultimately was enough to keep OU’s unbeaten season alive.
West Virginia running back Leddie Brown entered the contest averaging 117 yards per game in WVU’s previous two contests against Power 5 opposition, but the Sooners contained him on Saturday night.
Brown finished with 56 yards on the ground, forcing quarterback Jarret Doege to air it out 29 times.
Oklahoma was also good defending third downs, only allowing West Virginia to convert 4-of-14 of their third-down attempts.
OU finished with five tackles for loss and one quarterback sack, with Perrion Winfrey registering the lone sack of the night.
There’s a ton wrong with the Sooners right now, but the defensive line has been the position group that shines the brightest.
Clutch Brkic Brings OU Home
He didn’t have to hit a 50-yard field goal on Saturday night, but Gabe Brkic still sealed the game for the Sooners.
After Rattler engineered a great drive to finish the game, Brkic moved to 8-of-10 for the season on field goals, knocking through a 29-yard attempt as time expired to keep OU perfect on the year.
Brkic has been a weapon for Lincoln Riley all season long, nailing three 50-yard attempts already this season, and he left little doubt on all three of his attempts against the Mountaineers.
If the Sooners are going to have to grind out close wins all year, Brkic may be Oklahoma’s biggest weapon moving forward.