November 7, 2006

Linemen, defense dominate Sooner Hot 11

The Sooners are becoming Rolaids' favored team as one week after another sees the Sooners somehow in a tight game. This past weekend in College Station, Texas was no different as Oklahoma managed to squeak out a needed 17-16 victory over Dennis Franchione's Aggies. It was a performance that would have made Barry Switzer proud as the Sooner used a physical ground game and imposing defense to pull off a crucial win for Bob Stoops and the entire program.

1. Allen Patrick, Running Back - Stats: 32 carries, 173 yards, 1 touchdown
Analysis: Everyone knew that Patrick had great talent, but it's doubtful anyone could have seen this level of performance from him. If not for a usually uncalled holding penalty against Malcolm Kelly Patrick would have had his first 200 yard rushing game and one of the great runs in Sooner history after breaking free in the third quarter to display a spin move that had Kirk Herbstreit making Reggie Bush comparisons, and the speed and strength to avoid further tackles on a would-be 78 yard touchdown run.

2. Rufus Alexander, Linebacker - Stats: Nine tackles (three solo), and half a tackle for loss
Analysis: I've held off on saying it until I felt confident that Alexander was officially back to his old self, but he is now finally consistently playing like the player everyone expected him to be. Early in the season not only was Alexander struggling to be the big impact player that he has been for so long but was having trouble with making the routine plays. However, on Saturday night there were stretches of the game that Alexander simply took over, by not only playing good assignment football against the option but also being his disruptive self behind the line of scrimmage.

3. Marcus Walker, Cornerback - Stats: Four tackles, half a tackle for loss, one interception, half a sack
Analysis: If college football had a comeback player of the year, Walker would have to be on the short list. The junior from Waco had become an afterthought around Norman and is now playing as well as any cornerback in the Big 12, and dare I say country. Two straight weeks Walker's hard work in film study has shown as both of his interceptions weren't poorly thrown or bad mistakes by Chase Daniel and Stephen McGee, but instead were good recognition on his part to jump underneath routes.

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