What Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins had done in his initial two games since returning from suspension was pretty special. What he did Saturday night, well, you just don’t see too many performances like that.
Perkins played like a man possessed in leading OU’s defense and helping the Sooners to a 41-13 throttling of Bedlam rival Oklahoma State and put OU firmly in the spot of controlling its own destiny for a shot at a sixth straight conference championship.
You could argue his emotional lift is just as much, but then you see the way he performs, and that’s just incredibly tough to deny.
“He’s a good player and for us, we’ve said this some while he was gone, he’s an emotional leader for us,” head coach Lincoln Riley said. “Not just an emotional leader, but a pure leader. Our guys feed off of him and he’s got a really good presence with our guys, having been through a couple of battles.
“So his energy and excitement to get back on the field with us has kinda stayed and obviously, you add a good football player in there … we’ve kinda infused him to what was already a good situation up front and it’s made us even better.”
Perkins had five tackles, including three for loss and two sacks. The ferocity in which he tackled OSU players was a side we had simply never seen before.
Guess you could say he’s making up for lost time, after missing the first five games.
“Yea, most definitely. Shoot, when you sit out for that many games, you kinda feel like a starved, caged lion,” Perkins said. “Once you see a lion out of the cage, he’s going to do what he can to eat. That’s kinda how I feel going out there every week, man. I’m getting all the meals back that I missed.”
OU had four sacks in the game, and linebacker David Ugwoegbu added an interception as the defense held OSU to just 246 yards.
Rattler cool, calm, collected
It’s the only way H-Back Jeremiah Hall could describe what he was seeing from quarterback Spencer Rattler.
As good as Rattler had been in the previous three games, there was a little bit of wondering about how he would fare against the OSU defense and against a defense that would hit back again.
Wonder no more. Rattler continued his stellar play of the last month, completing 17 of 24 passes for 301 yards with four touchdowns, while rushing for another.
“Spencer did Spencer things today. We had a great two weeks of practice,” said receiver Theo Wease, who caught two touchdowns in Bedlam. “Honestly, he was doing everything he could in practice, so I knew it was going to translate to the game. I feel like he’s more comfortable out there being himself, trusting himself, just executing plays very well.”
Since being benched vs. Texas in the second quarter, Rattler has accounted for 14 touchdowns (11 passing, three rushing) against just one turnover (INT).
Stevenson wearing ‘em down
At halftime, Rhamondre Stevenson had 12 carries for 21 yards, averaging less than two yards per rush. But OU stuck with it and so did Stevenson.
Plays that were minimal yardage started to open up, and when it was all said and done, Stevenson finished with 141 yards on 26 carries. Or split it up, 14 rushes for 120 yards in the second half.
“The fun thing for that kid is he still has so much more to go,” Riley said. “He’s still relatively such a young player. He still hasn’t played a full college football season. But he gets better. I give our line a lot of credit. I thought there were some really nice holes out there. We did some really good things up front against a talented and experienced defensive front that gives you a lot of different looks.”
Stevenson also had three catches for 54 yards. OU managed to rush for 191 yards on 44 attempts (4.3 yards per rush), after being limited to less than two yards in the first half.
COVID strikes… almost
Coming off a bye week, and with COVID-19 cases spiking like crazy across the state, there were some noticeable absences for the Sooners.
But OU was able to pull it all together, although Riley did admit COVID-19 had them sweating it out a bit toward the latter portion of the week.
“I’m not gonna get too far into that,” Riley said. “I mean, it’s just a week-to-week deal that we deal with. We were either gonna play it now, or try to rearrange it, but luckily, things turned in a positive direction at the end of the week and we were able to play it.”
Riley clarified it was an issue with OU, saying he couldn’t say how things were for OSU.
Whether it was COVID or injuries, key pieces like Austin Stogner, Jaden Davis, Jadon Haselwood, among others, were players OU had to make do without for Bedlam.
OU has seemingly had answers for everything. For Bedlam, it was the return of Brayden Willis and a great outing by freshman cornerback D.J. Graham. Next man up is not just a motto.