5 takeaways from the Oklahoma Sooners win over SMU Mustangs

5 takeaways from the Oklahoma Sooners win over SMU Mustangs

“Just win, baby.” The words made famous by long-time Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, remind us the most important thing a football team can accomplish on Saturdays is going home with a W.

And that’s what the Oklahoma Sooners did.

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The offensive performance may not have met expectations, but the defense certainly stood strongly, allowing the Sooners’ offense to do enough.

In the end, the Sooners won a tough football game in which the defense was relied upon to make plays and stand strong long enough for the offense to find its rhythm in the fourth quarter and put the game away.

The Sooners played a complete game in Week 2. Here are five takeaways from the win over SMU:

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The Oklahoma Sooners defense allowed three points in the first half and eight points in the second half.

Here’s how SMU’s drives went:

First Half

  • 5 plays, 14 yards – Punt
  • 8 plays, 65 yards – Field Goal
  • 3 plays, 7 yards – Punt
  • 9 plays, 45 yards – Punt
  • 8 plays, 35 yards – Turnover on Downs
  • 11 plays, 56 yards – Missed Field Goal

Second Half

  • 3 plays, 0 yards – Punt
  • 4 plays, 47 yards – Fumble
  • 13 plays, 76 yards – TOUCHDOWN
  • 4 plays, 5 yards – Turnover on Downs
  • 13 plays, 65 yards – Interception

The Sooners forced four punts, two turnovers and two field-goal attempts. They held SMU to 4 of 16 on third down and 2 of 4 on fourth down.

Third-down defense was an issue last year, but in 2023, the Sooners are allowing a third-down conversion 21.4% of the time.

Most notably, in the series following SMU scores, Oklahoma’s defense immediately responded with stops. It didn’t allow the Mustangs to string scoring drives.

Now, the Sooners are far from a finished product, but that was a good offense they went up against on Saturday evening, and the OU defense shut it down.

Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

If we didn’t know it already, Danny Stutsman is a star. The leader of the Oklahoma Sooners defense was flying around all evening in the win over SMU.

He collected 17 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, a sacks and a quarterback hit. On a night when Oklahoma’s offense struggled to finish drives, Stutsman and the defense led the way, holding the Mustangs to just 11 points.

After leading the Big 12 in tackles in 2022, many wondered if Stutsman could take his game to another level. It’s safe to say that he has.

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Heading into the season, there was an assumption about the running back depth chart. Well, Tawee Walker wasn’t hearing any of it. Walker, the former junior college transfer earned his spot atop the depth chart and has rewarded the coaching staff’s faith.

Walker was the Sooners’ most consistent option for much of this ball game. Not just running the ball. Their most consistent option in any phase on offense.

He ran hard, picked up tough yards and created yards after contact. Walker built on a strong Week 1 performance, averaging more than five yards per carry to earn his first 100-yard game as a Sooner.

On the season, he’s averaging 5.55 yards per carry after his 21-attempt 117-yard performance. He also caught three passes for 25 yards to give Dillon Gabriel a really good option out of the backfield.

If there was any question as to who the lead running back on the roster was, the answer is clear: Tawee Walker.

Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

In Week 1, Gavin Freeman returned a punt for a touchdown early in the Sooners’ 73-0 win over Arkansas State. In Week 2, another high-profile underclassman made a big-time special teams play to set up a score.

Peyton Bowen flew in from the right side and blocked SMU’s punt, setting the Sooners up with a short field. The Sooners capitalized three players later on Dillon Gabriel’s touchdown pass to Andrel Anthony.

To win football games at the highest levels, you have to leverage special teams into an advantage. We’ll see if they can continue to do so as the season goes along, but this is a great start to the season for the special teams units.

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OK. He didn’t throw for a ton of yards. The Sooners didn’t score 40 points. But Oklahoma earned the win and won by 17. Dillon Gabriel had a nice game.

Gabriel completed 70% of his passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball eight times for 20 yards in the win.

It was a rough start in the first quarter, completing just 5 of 10 attempts for 41 yards. However, Gabriel responded in the final three quarters, completing 82% of his passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns.

In particular, his work in the fourth quarter helped the Sooners seal the victory when he went 6 of 8 for 88 yards and a pair of scores.

It wasn’t the flashiest day for the Oklahoma Sooners offense, but it was an effective day all in the same. Gabriel did what he needed to do and rallied after a slow start to help lead the Sooners to victory.

Contact/Follow us @SoonersWire on Twitter, and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of Oklahoma news, notes, and opinions. You can also follow John on Twitter @john9williams.

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