OU vs. Iowa State: Report Card

OU linebacker Travis Lewis

Sooners Illustrated provides this week's edition of grades below.

Defensive backs: B+

Look, everybody knows Iowa State is not a prolific passing team. The Cyclones came in averaging just 226.2 passing yards per game, or 67th best in the nation. Still, after the debacle OU's secondary allowed just a week prior to Robert Griffin and the Baylor Bears, the performance against Iowa State was encouraging. Sam Proctor took over Javon Harris' starting spot and on senior day in Norman the Sooners limited the Cyclones to a modest 125 yards passing. More often than not, Oklahoma's defensive backs were in the right spot and forcing ISU quarterback Jared Barnett to make a perfect throw. Against as good of a quarterback as the Sooners will see next week in Brandon Weeden, OU will need to duplicate and expound upon the positive results displayed today.

Rushing the football: A-

Hands down the best performance of the three games rushing the football since Dominique Whaley got hurt against Kansas State. Four if you also count the K-State game. On a cold and very windy day, running the football effectively was a must. Oklahoma was able to do so with great success. The Sooners ran the ball 45 times for a 5.6 yard average per rush with the Belldozer getting into the end zone twice. Credit co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell with some excellent play-calling. The reverse and the double reverse later on to wide receiver Trey Franks went for 88 rushing yards on two big plays. Against Oklahoma State, though, a fumble will prove extremely costly (i.e. Roy Finch's first half fumble is the reason this is an A- and not higher).

Handling adverse conditions: A+

Consider this, Oklahoma scored 26 points on the afternoon. Twenty of the 26 came in the second quarter when OU was driving into that nasty wind. Landry Jones did an outstanding job of handling the weather and put in his best work of the day when conditions were their worst. Sure, it was an anemic passing day by LJ standards (22-of-43 passes completed for 256 yards with no touchdowns), but his leadership was on full display today. It was an impressive performance given the circumstances.

Penalties: A

After shooting themselves in the foot with nine penalties for 90 yards against Baylor last Saturday, the Sooners responded nicely this week. Only four penalties for 34 yards. With that, one of the penalties was questionable. The pass interference on senior wide receiver DeJuan Miller could have gone either way and probably should have just been a no call. Senior Travis Lewis should have had a pick-six on senior day if not for a silly block-in-the-back penalty by defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland. Following today's contest, OU averages just 4.8 penalties per game for 43.9 yards.

Travis Lewis' disappearing act: F

Travis Lewis came back to win a national title. All along, the slogan was national title or bust. He said it himself. When those dreams faded last Saturday against the Baylor Bears, it was naturally a very painful experience, especially for seniors like Lewis, Frank Alexander, Dejuan Miller, Trent Ratterree, and on and on and on. I get that. I do. Still, when you're the captain of a football team and you make a conscious decision to come back and represent that school, you don't dip out on interviews week after week after week. This was Lewis' senior day. The final time one of the most decorated linebackers to ever don the Crimson and Cream would step out onto Gaylord Memorial Stadium's field. He had a good game, too. Came up with an interception, tied Rocky Calmus as the leading career tackler in the Bob Stoops era. I'm sure fans would have liked to have heard or read what the final experience of playing at home felt like and how big of an accomplishment tying Calmus was. Javon Harris came in and talked about his rough outing in Waco against the Bears. Man up Travis.

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