Skip to main content
Publish date:

Under Caleb Williams, Oklahoma's Offense is Explosive Again

For the second straight week, the Sooners exploded for more than 50 points with the true freshman at quarterback.

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s big-play offense is back, and all it took was a quarterback change.

A heroic performance in the Cotton Bowl against No. 25 Texas last week was enough for Lincoln Riley to pull the trigger. Saturday against TCU, he replaced preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler with true freshman quarterback Caleb Williams, and Williams responded with an OU freshman-record 295 yards passing and five touchdowns.

And just as it did a week ago against the Longhorns, a once-sputtering OU offense found life.

Entering the contest, the most completed passes of 15 yards or more for the Sooner offense was seven, a feat achieved against both Tulane and Western Carolina.

In the first half alone against the Horned Frogs, Williams completed eight such passes. Even more impressive, four of those eight first-half big plays were completions of more than 30 yards, transforming Riley’s offense back into the quick-strike machine that has become the norm in Norman.

Wide receiver Jadon Haselwood said after the game that Williams’ ability to evade defenders helps extend plays, allowing the young quarterback to push the ball downfield even in the midst of pressure.

“He's awesome getting outside of the pocket and throwing on the run,” Haselwood said. “I mean, nobody can tackle him. He can scramble, he's pretty fast. Obviously you can see that even when he has those QB runs. I know that helps a lot.”

Gary Patterson’s defenses are renowned for their complexity across college football, but the self anointed “Superman” wasn’t fooled in his first start.

The Sooners finished the first half with just 48 rushing yards, which was surprising considering TCU’s run defense is the 116th best unit in the country. But it makes sense considering how efficiently Williams was running the offense.

Under Williams’ guidance, the Sooner offense averaged 9.7 yards per play over the first 30 minutes.

No longer is the Oklahoma quarterback forcing ill-advised passes into triple coverage.

OU receiver Mike Woods said Williams is giving his pass catchers an opportunity to go up and make a play, and the receivers are loving it.

Read More

“He’s giving us chances,” Woods said after the game. “You’re seeing a lot of 50/50 balls are being thrown out there. He’s letting it fly. We’re really enjoying playing with him. Like I said, we’re ready to ride with whoever is back there.”

But in the second half, Williams proved to be more than a one-hit wonder.

Oklahoma’s running game came alive in the second half.

The Sooners finished with 230 yards on the ground, 216 of which coming after the intermission.

Kennedy Brooks carried the load for Oklahoma, but Williams still left his mark on a 41-yard touchdown scamper, freezing multiple Horned Frog defenders who failed to even lay a hand on the quarterback.

In total, the OU offense finished with 10 passing plays of 15 yards or more, a season high, and five rushes of 10 yards or more, which was tied for their third-highest output of the season.

Williams himself accounted for 361 total yards of offense and five TDs, leading OU to a 52-point performance. All told, the Sooners have now scored over 50 points in back-to-back weeks after struggling to get much going offensively after the Western Carolina game.

A game and a half into the Williams era and it’s safe to say the big-play threat is back in a major way for the Sooners, and the talented wide receiver room will again have a chance to shine in Riley’s offense.

“Every receiver wants that,” Woods said. “We want to go out there and make those ESPN plays. A lot of those come from 50/50 balls. Definitely love those 50/50 plays.

“We tell them all the time, just throw that thing up. We’re gonna go get it.”

Want to join the discussion? Click here to become a member of the AllSooners message board community today!

Sign up for your premium membership to today, and get access to the entire Fan Nation premium network!

Follow AllSooners on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest OU news.