- Jake Trotter, ESPN Staff Writer
The Oklahoma offense has been up-and-down through the first half of the season. But it’s coming off back-to-back dominating performances. Here’s SoonerNation’s midseason report on the OU offense:
Offensive MVP: RB Damien Williams. The junior-college transfer has ignited the ground game in a huge way. Williams already has three runs longer than any the Sooners had produced going back to 2008. Williams is averaging almost eight yards per carry with six touchdowns.
Most surprising player: Sterling Shepard. Nobody doubted the true freshman would eventually make an impact. Just not this quickly. Shepard was OU’s best offensive player in the loss to Kansas State, and has 206 yards receiving on the season. He’s firmly positioned himself in a deep receiving rotation.
Defining moment of the first five games: Williams’ 95-yard run against Texas exemplified everything this offense aspires to be: explosive, physical, two-dimensional. Kenny Stills’ block on Quandre Diggs underscored the attitude the offense brought to the Cotton Bowl.
Most concerning moment of the first five games: Landry Jones' two turnovers against Kansas State. When the Sooners hold on to the ball, they are difficult to stop. But Jones has shown a propensity in the past at times to turnover the ball over. It cost the Sooners against K-State. It will cost them again if Jones resorts to that kind of carelessness.
Player to watch the rest of the season: WR Jalen Saunders. The Sooners added a big-time weapon last week when Saunders was cleared by the NCAA. Saunders was second nationally in yards per catch last season, and is a threat to generate a big play any time he goes out for a pass. Saunders may not start, but he will be a big part of the offense going forward.
Unsung hero: C Gabe Ikard. The Sooners have lost three of their top seven offensive linemen to season-ending injuries, but have managed to keep it together. The captain of the group, Ikard, deserves a lot of credit for this. Despite the lack of depth, the OU line dominated a strong Texas defensive line and paved the way for 343 rushing yards.
3dBrandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter