- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
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EL PASO, Texas – This what not the kind of start Oklahoma was hoping for the 2012 season. After a sluggish first half, the Sooners are tied with UTEP 7-7 at halftime.
Stat of the half: Miners QB Nick Lamaison has completed just 3 of 13 passes for 17 yards. The OU secondary has committed two defensive pass interference penalties (one by Aaron Colvin, one by Gabe Lynn) but otherwise the unit has been stout.
Player of the half: Kenny Stills has been the only thing OU’s had going offensively. The junior wideout has four catches for 104 yards and a touchdown. The rest of the receiving corps? Two catches for 11 yards. Off a busted play, Stills broke open down the sideline 68 yards for the Sooners’ only score. It was the longest catch of Stills’ career.
What’s working for the Sooners: After a shaky opening drive, the OU defense has been stingy. David King, who two weeks ago was moved from end to tackle, has led a disruptive pass rush up the middle, preventing Lamaison from generating any rhythm. After giving up 58 yards on the opening drive, the Sooners have allowed just 39 total yards.
What’s not working for the Sooners: Head coach Bob Stoops said all preseason he expected the kicking game to be a team strength. So far, it’s been a disaster. The Miners blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown in the first quarter. Then in the second quarter, they blocked Michael Hunnicutt’s 44-yard field goal attempt.
What OU needs to do to win: The first half smacks of the offensive problems that plagued the Sooners late last season. Quarterback Landry Jones has looked mostly sharp, but has been out of sync with his new receivers, Penn State transfer Justin Brown and true freshman Trey Metoyer. The Sooners could take some of the pressure off Jones by establishing the run, which they failed to do in the first half.
4dJake Trotter and Brandon Chatmon