It sure wasn't pretty. Oklahoma came out playing fast, and Tulsa didn't have the depth to maintain the pace, nor the resilience to get back in the game when they had the opportunity. However, there were some solid performers, guys who played at a level that could have changed the tone of the game if more of their team-mates could have matched them. So who was hot and who was not?
Quarterbacks: Dane Evans wasn't terrible against Oklahoma; last year he was terrible, but not on Saturday. However, he certainly wasn't great either. Working mostly in the short to mid range areas, Evans completed 23 of 43 passes for 204 yards and a TD, with 2 interceptions. His first interception was a probably first down that the receiver bobbled, but his second interception, a pick-six by Geneo Grissom, was dreadful, and he looked like he was patting Grissom on the head as ran by as opposed to taking him out. He also threw early on some third downs, giving receivers little chance to get the required yardage. Joseph Calcagni came in for the last drive, leading Tulsa into scoring range, but he threw into a crowd in the endzone and was picked off. He made a nice tackle on the return though.
Running Backs: Take away the two sacks, and Tulsa ran 32 times for 107 yards. Not outstanding compared to, say, Oklahoma's 261 yards, but the backs were relatively consistent in churning out 4-5 yard gains. The problem? They just didn't run enough, and that was probably wise, as the Sooners tended to sit back against the pass rather than stuff the run. James Flanders led the runners with 54 yards on 13 carries, while D'Angelo Brewer had 26 yards on 7 attempts. Zack Langer made an appearance at the end, gaining 21 yards on 4 carries. One surprise was the absence of Tavarreon Dickerson, who had an early carry called back for a penalty, and only caught one pass after that. He led the team in rushing last week against Tulane.
Receivers: After last week's explosion, Keevan Lucas hardly lit up the Sooners more capable secondary, but he had a workmanlike 10 receptions for 84 yards and a score, and was easily Evans' favorite receiver. Evans also targeted Keyarris Garrett regularly, but only connected 4 times for 55 yards. Bishop Louie chipped in with 4 receptions for 34 yards. The receivers had an okay performance, and Tulsa got the opportunity to play some of their freshman, such as Bishop, who looked decent in extended playing time. Apart from Lucas though, the unit isn't where it needs to be to compete on a weekly basis.
Offensive Line: The line was okay against the Sooners, but bear in mind that Oklahoma wasn't exactly bringing the house on every play. The unit gave up 2 sacks, to defensive end Chuka Ndulue and linebacker Caleb Gastelum, but Oklahoma's pass rush didn't need to get too close to the flaky Evans to disrupt his passing. The short passing attack helped keep the Sooner dogs off, but the line did okay. The run blocking was less impressive, paving the way for just 107 yards, but it wasn't awful, giving up just one tackle for loss.
Defensive Line: Let's be nice about this - the Sooner offensive line manhandled their Tulsa defensive counterparts. The Oklahoma runners regularly had gaping holes to saunter through en route to 272 yards on 30 carries (minus the sack). On long touchdown runs by Keith Ford and Alex Ross, the backs were almost untouched by defenders. Which all starts up front. Derrick Luetjen had the sole sack, while Derrick Alexander had 3 tackles, with 1.5 coming on Oklahoma's side of the line. In Alexander and Co's defense, Oklahoma's offensive line is gargantuan - NFL big - and the Hurricane won't have to face a line this good again.
Linebackers: Despite the linebackers getting little help up front from the line, they were a little better than the big boys up front, but not by much. Trent Martin led the team in tackles with 9, combining for one in the backfield with Alexander, and was also credited with a quarterback pressure. Craig Suits was probably the best of the bunch, making 8 tackles, 6 solo, with one the backfield, and also broke up a pass. However, too many tackles were made downfield (didn't I write the same last week?), as Sooner runners had plenty of room to manoeuver.
Defensive Backs: Despite giving up nearly 300 yards passing, the secondary wasn't too bad, holding their own against the deep ball as OU passer Trevor Knight misfired a little too often. Still, the secondary had no answer to receiver Sterling Shepard, who hauled in 8 passes for 177 yards and a TD, but were otherwise solid. Senior cornerback Austin Daniels was the star of the show, breaking up 3 passes, while Will Barrow had one. Safeties Michael Mudoh and Demarco Nelson combined for 11 tackles, but Nelson missed much of the second half due to a concussion, and is questionable for this weekend.
Special Teams: Probably the most effective unit, but that isn't saying much. Even so, they performed capably. Punter Dalton Parks averaged 46.4 yards on 8 punts, and had just 3 returned for a solitary yard. The kick coverage was solid, and even forced a fumble that the Sooners were fortunate to recover. Brewer averaged 22.7 yards on 3 kick returns.
The Bottom Line: A bad day at the office. Tulsa were just outmatched in every facet of the game (okay, maybe not special teams), but they are in rebuilding mode and facing a team that is considered a national title contender. The good news is they won't have to face anyone like that again this season, and have the experience of playing against a powerhouse on their resume. It's hardly what the doctor ordered after the big win over Tulane last week, but the Hurricane still look they could surprise some opponents this season.