2 in a row! In front of 48,000 fans at BBVA Bancomer Stadium in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, the Roughnecks pulled out an improbable win over division rival Houston. In a tight, back and forth contest, Oklahoma took a 21-17 lead late in the 3rd quarter. The Roughneck’s defense kept the Wranglers out of the end zone, coming up big as they limited Houston to three 3-and-out series and stopped a 10-play drive with a little over a minute left to seal the victory. With the victory, the Roughnecks move to 2-6 for the season, and 2-1 with Landry Jones under center.
What went right: As mentioned above, the Oklahoma defense came up big with the game on the line. Houston QB Matt Nichol was held to 91 total yards through the air for the afternoon and a completion percentage of 50%. Wrangler’s receiver Aldrick Robinson, who came into the contest among the SFL top-10 receiving leaders, was held to 3 catches for 21 yards. Cornerback Zach Sanchez had two more deflections, giving him 9 for the season, the 3rd highest total in the SFL. On offense, Landry Jones played well in his third start. The former Sooner completed 22 of 33 passes for 260 yards and 3 TDs, an 82.9 passer rating. His primary target was rookie tight end Mark Andrews who caught 8 passes for 69 yards. Andrews is now ranked 4th in the SFL with 43 catches for the season. Eli Rogers had his best game of the year, catching 4 passes for 78 yards and 2 TDs.
What went wrong: Despite the win, Oklahoma has a number of issues to address before next week’s meeting with Iowa. The running game was non-existent, as Lance Dunbar rushed 18 times for 46 yards, a mere 2.6 yards per carry average. Landry Jones threw three interceptions, including 2 picked off by Adam “Pacman” Jones. While the Rouchneck’s D shut down Matt Nichols, there was no stopping Aaron Jones who rushed for 132 yards. Jones has rushed for a total of 301 yards in the two meetings between the teams. The defensive unit had 9 missed tackles, an appalling number that will likely make Defensive Coordinator Jackie Shipp quite upset.
Analysis: On international soil, the Roughnecks won a game they weren’t supposed to win. Quite frankly, the team did not play all that well and should feel fortunate to escape with a W. Landry Jones was hot and cold, throwing 3 TD passes while also being picked off 3 times. Jones still gives the team the best chance to win and he has solidified his place as the entrenched starter for the franchise. While the defense had technique issues with 9 missed tackles, they toughened up with the game on the line making a number of huge 4th quarter stops. Good teams find a way to win even then things aren’t necessarily going their way. For the first time this season, that’s exactly what happened to the Roughnecks who surely enjoyed the flight back to the United States knowing they’ve won 2 in a row.
What’s next: Oklahoma travels to Iowa (5-3) to face the Midwest Division leader.