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Sunday, September 2, 2012
Three up, three down: OU 24, UTEP 7

By Jake Trotter

EL PASO, Texas -- A look at positives and negatives from Oklahoma's 24-7 win over UTEP:

THREE UP

1. Landry Jones. The OU offense sputtered, but to little fault of Jones. Most encouraging was Jones' improved footwork, which allowed him to escape the pocket and take shots downfield. On one broken down play, Jones rolled out, then threw a strike down the opposite hash to Kenny Stills for a 68-yard touchdown. Had his receivers not dropped a couple other beautiful throws, Jones could have had a big night.

DeShawn Grayson
UTEP had just 255 total yards, but 207 of them came on the ground.
2. Mike Stoops' defense. Big plays in the passing game proved to be the downfall of the OU defense last season. But Saturday, UTEP's longest completion went for just 13 yards. The OU defense gave up yardage, but never broke while keeping the UTEP offense off the scoreboard.

3. Damien Williams. The junior college transfer was OU's best offensive weapon outside of slot receiver Stills. Williams led the Sooners with 104 yards rushing, including a 65-yard touchdown in which he cut across the field. Bob Stoops said he believes the Sooners have found a back that can complement starter Dominique Whaley.

THREE DOWN

1. Offensive flow. The Sooners couldn't find an offense rhythm until the fourth quarter against a defense that ranked 104th nationally in 2011. With so many new components, an adjustment curve was expected. But not anything like this. The OU offense better figure things out, and quick.

2. Defensive tackle. David King, who two weeks ago was still OU's starting defensive end, played his heart out. But the Sooners have rapidly grown thin at tackle with the immediate futures of starters Casey Walker (personal issues) and Stacy McGee (suspension) unknown. That will be tougher to overcome against the likes of Kansas State (Sept. 22) and Texas (Oct. 13).

3. Roy Finch. One of OU's top playmakers the last two seasons didn't get a single offensive snap against UTEP. The Sooners designed a special package for Finch in the slot this preseason, but never went to it. The reason? Co-offensive coordinator Josh Norvell indicated Finch has not done enough in practice to warrant the playing time. Until he does, Finch figures to be spending his Saturdays on the sidelines.