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October 16, 2012

Hot 11: Bevy of Sooners Run Over Bevo

The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and Oklahoma came in with many wondering just what kind of team Bob Stoops had on his hands. Following a 63-21 blasting of Texas that frankly sounds closer than it was the Sooners seem to have established themselves as back in the thick of the Big 12 title chase. The toughest aspect about this edition of the Hot 11 was simply limiting the list as several incredibly worth players were left off.

11. Bronson Irwin, Offensive Guard - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: In spite of fighting through an injury it's hard not to take note of where a lot of Oklahoma's big ground gains came from - the right side of the Sooners offensive line. Williams big runs, Bell's touchdown runs, the vast majority were coming between Irwin and his right side assistants. Irwin has been just the type of mauler many hoped he could be when he was forced into the starting line-up by Tyler Evans' injury.Last Week: No. 6
10. Justin Brown, Wide Receiver - Stats: Five catches for 73-yards, a 14-yard touchdown, and a 44-yard punt return.
Analysis: Brown makes his second appearance of the season on the list following a performance in which he did a bit of everything. While many may focus on his catches and the big punt return he was just as important to Oklahoma's massive ground performance as he can be consistently seen on tape blocking down field and creating extra yardage for a backfield that went absolutely wild on Saturday.Last Week: N/A
9. Corey Nelson, Linebacker - Stats Two solo tackles, two tackles for loss (four yards), one pass break-up, one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: Perhaps one of the most forgotten stellar performances of the game. Whether it was against the pass or the run Nelson played well and did a lot to disrupt what Texas was doing offensively. Last year Nelson put up a big performance in Dallas but failed to really find the same form from there on out - at least to any consistent level. Where he goes from here will say a lot about his maturation in the year since.Last Week: N/A
8. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 21-for-37 for 321-yards and two touchdowns (25, 14).
Analysis: Honestly, this list is so strong that Jones one error, amid a lengthy list of quality plays, hurt him more than it would almost any other week. But make no mistake Jones' late interception was well past the point of falling off this list. This is exactly the kind of game that many hoped he could produce with great play action work, challenging defenses down the field and making very sound decisions with the football from beginning to end. Overall, this Landry Jones can help Oklahoma play with anyone in the country.Last Week: No. 3
7. Jamarkus McFarland, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Three tackles (two solo).
Analysis: McFarland was a guy I freely admit that I publicly doubted prior to the season but watch him play and you can't help but disregard the sometimes up and down performances of years past. This is a guy who can go beyond the college game and at times has flashed like a star through his first three years. McFarland has always shown some ability as a pass rusher but this year has become a stout run defender and is helping the Sooners emerge as one of the league's best run defenses.Last Week: N/A
6. Aaron Colvin, Cornerback - Stats: One interception.
Analysis: It's crazy to think as often as Colvin's name got called that he had the one interception as his only stat. However, the one completion that Texas got against him is something of proof of how good he has been to start the year. It took a near perfect throw from David Ash and great catch from Mike Davis to beat similarly perfect coverage from Colvin. His ability to respond on the next play and undercut Marquise Goodwin's route for his pick was a great sign. Last Week: No. 1
5. Daryl Williams, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Williams, is much like Irwin above, he helped the Sooners open a load of running lanes from beginning to end of the game. Williams also largely manhandled future first round draft pick Alex Okafor who managed just one tackle for loss and one pass break-up. Many thought Williams could handle Okafor's athleticism but there was a question of how the lean offensive tackle would handle Okafor's strength and ability against the run - as it turns out, it was a massive victory for the Sooner sophomore. Last Week: N/A
4. Tony Jefferson, Safety - Stats: Seven tackles (five solo), two tackles for loss (three yards), one interception (14-yard return).
Analysis: Jefferson continues to show just what has been missing in recent years at the safety position by making one big play after another. For whatever reason the Sooner seem much more natural at closing to the line of scrimmage and gang-tackling and nowhere is that more obvious than with Jefferson's plays in this game. If he can continue to build on what he has already done look for this defense to continue to ascend in the rankings.Last Week: No. 10
3. Casey Walker, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Two tackles (one solo), one tackle for loss (four yards).
Analysis: Much like McFarland it's been said through the years that Walker would have a great moment here or there but whether it was due to injury or something else the consistency always seemed to evade Walker. Well this year since his return he is showing the ability to put together numerous strong efforts. The big defensive tackle has been making big plays in the run game and certainly seems to be on the verge of being a big cog in a defense that has been a big surprise so far. Last Week: No. 4
2. Damien Williams, Running Back - Stats: 22 carries for 174-yards, a 95-yard touchdown as well as one 10-yard reception.
Analysis: Speaking of surprises, anyone who wasn't around the Scoop boards in the off-season is surprised by just how good Williams has been. And it's safe to say that his 95-yard touchdown run against the Longhorns was a moment in which even most Sooner fans realized they truly had a star running back on their hands. Williams is also a very able pass blocker and so far it hasn't received enough attention but perhaps another under appreciated part of his game is the ability to sell playfakes and help the Sooner passing game in that way as well. Last Week: No. 2
1. Trey Millard, Fullback - Stats: Three carries for 45-yards, as well as five receptions for 119-yards and a 25-yard touchdown.
Analysis: I considered other options here I really did but with Millard's performance and the ability maximize his touches it's hard to justify anyone else in the spot. And when you consider how much Millard does in pass and run blocking that will never show up on the stat sheet, other than in the yardage of Williams and Blake Bell it's not hard to see why he ended up here. The interesting aspect is whether this level of involvement, or something like it, will stick for Millard. Last Week: 3

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