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September 27, 2011

Sooner Hot 11: Missouri

The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and in Oklahoma's hit or miss 38-28 win over Missouri there were several elite performances to fight for the top spot but with several miscues fill out the Hot 11 became an interesting task. So let's take a look inside one of the most enigmatic games during Bob Stoops' tenure at Oklahoma and try to see if the Sooners played well, or simply well enough to avoid losing.
11. Tyler Evans, Offensive Guard - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Evans got off to a bit of a slow start but as the game wore on and the Sooners started playing their closest facsimile to smashmouth football he really seemed to put together his best effort of the season. Evans pulled a couple of times and looked serviceable at the task, at least once helping spring a long run for Dominique Whaley, but it's when he locks onto a defensive line that he truly looks his best.Last Week: N/A
10. Jamarkus McFarland, Defensive Tackle - Stats: Two assisted tackles, half a tackle for loss.
Analysis: McFarland hasn't received a lot of praise for his work through the game but if any of the defensive tackles put together a strong night it was him. McFarland, and to a lesser degree Stacy McGee, got some pressure in spite of facing constant doubles as a lone defensive tackle type. McFarland's role near the center has helped him emerge this year as a more consistent player and he was one of few defenders who looked awake at the start of the game on Saturday.Last Week: N/A
9. Aaron Colvin, Safety - Stats: Eight tackles (four solo), pass break-up.
Analysis: Colvin wasn't able to finish the game after taking a nasty knock on Missouri's final drive but the safety continues to cement himself as a valuable asset of the Oklahoma defense. While many doubted his ability to be a run-support safety he has proven himself more than capable at sticking his nose into any fray. Now he may not be a massive striker at the point of attack but his ability to get a player down is a key element to any safety's success.Last Week: N/A
8. Gabe Ikard, Offensive Line - Stats: N/A.
Analysis:Ikard can't even be listed as a guard after spending much of his time at center. The sophomore has been emerging for several weeks now as a valuable piece of Oklahoma's front five and his ability to be useful at both guard and center only helped to further his importance to the team. .Ikard, unlike the previously mentioned Evans, is at his best working into space and getting to the second level, sealing linebackers, etc. however his game is continuing to expand and there is reason to believe he'll be fine at center.Last Week: No. 11
7. Jaz Reynolds, Wide Receiver - Stats: Five catches for 93-yards.
Analysis: I won't even pretend that this isn't slightly vindicating for me - I've always thought Reynolds a quality talent in spite of many protestations to the contrary. Though he didn't play a perfect game on Sunday his long catch in the second quarter really seemed to spark the Sooner offense and it's clear his speed can be used as an asset for the Sooners. The other thing that one can't help but notice is the strength Reynolds has added and how much it's helping him create space for Landry Jones..Last Week: N/A
6. David King, Defensive End - Stats: Three tackles (two solo), one sack (11-yards).
Analysis: This is another guy that as I went through 'The Monday Morning Idiot' he just kept showing up on the tape. King may not have incredible numbers but his pressure was fairly consistent and he seemed one of the few defensive ends around the Big 12 who gave as well as he got with Missouri's all-conference contender, Dan Hoch, at left tackle. King's greatest asset is his balance as a defensive end. Some of his counterparts may be better pass rushers or better against the run but perhaps none are more equally adept. Last Week: N/A
5. Landry Jones, Quarterback - Stats: 35-for-48 for 448-yards and three touchdowns (24, 4, 4). Four carries for 11-yards and a touchdown.
Analysis: Even as a guy who has been a bit tough on Jones through the years is a bit mystified about some of the complaints over this performance. Don't get me wrong, I understand that his errors were costly but just the same look at those numbers that's a winning performance each and every week out. Yet again the thing that I liked most about Jones' work was as Missouri seemed ready to try and get back in the game at 31-21 he methodically took the team back down the field and essentially ended all doubt.Last Week: No. 7
4. Dominique Whaley, Running Back - Stats: 16 carries for 68-yards and a 3-yard touchdown, five catches for 82-yards.
Analysis: I said it in the Idiot on Monday but the thing that I just can't get over when I watch this guy is his balance. He'll seem to be ready to fall out of balance or just have his momentum headed in a completely different direction when a defender hits him and sure as the world he lands on his feet and resumes his progression up field. But that forgets the vision he has, several great FX angles (who hasn't loved these broadcasts?) showed almost imperceptible holes that he found his way through on the night. Last Week: N/A
3. Ryan Broyles, Wide Receiver - Stats: 13-catches for 154-yards and three touchdowns (24, 4, 4).
Analysis: I've said it for two years now but at this point it all seems like old hat to Broyles. Last week he didn't go over 100-yards and 'only' had nine catches - it's staggering to think about how spoiled fans, writers, teammates, and probably even Landry Jones have become by the consistency of his performances. People love to talk about his agility, his open field ability, etc. but for me it's his body control that he showed off on all three touchdowns that separates him from just about anyone, he isn't a big receiver but few are more likely to come out of the air with the ball.Last Week: No. 9
2. Demontre Hurst, Cornerback - Stats: Two assisted tackled, one pass break-up.
Analysis: If not for a monumental performance I'd have found a way to make this guy No. 1. I've talked over and over about how much of a believer I am in him but his play in the third quarter was one of the best I've seen from a corner. Playing the underneath routes he read James Franklin and quickly bailed out to help Javon Harris who looks as stunned by the play as I was. He breaks up what would have been a crucial first down in the red zone and got OU's defense back to the sideline. He has immense talent but that sort of awareness is what separates him.Last Week: No. 8
1. Frank Alexander, Defensive End - Stats: Six tackles (three solo), 1.5 tackles for loss (seven yards), one sack (six yards), one quarterback hurry.
Analysis: As I tooted my own horn with Reynolds and Hurst I can only take my lumps here, coming into the season I felt Alexander was all hat and well, very few, cattle but what I saw on Missouri was an All-American like performance. You name a way he could impact the game and he took care of it. Don't get me wrong, he has played well this season against Tulsa and Florida State but honestly if he can play any better than that it'll be a performance that will live in some quarterback's nightmares. I honestly am not sure I've seen a better full night of work from a Sooner defensive end since perhaps Dan Cody against Oklahoma State in 2003. Last Week: N/A

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