Washington running back Samaje Perine rushed for over 4000 yards during his playing career for the Oklahoma Sooners. On Saturday, returning to the Sooner state, Perine continued where he left off. The Roughneck’s defense could do little to stop the bruising back, as he notched 24 rushes for 132 yards and 2 TDs. Despite the lack of run defense, the Roughnecks were in the game the entire time thanks to a brilliant afternoon from Perine’s former teammate Mark Andrews. The Roughnecks had two chances to seal a victory in overtime. In the end, though, they fell 23-20 in Tulsa to bring their season record to 4-8.
What went right: Rookie tight end Mark Andrews continues to improve and already has to be considered in a discussion of the best tight ends in the SFL. Andrews came into the game as the reigning SFL rookie of the week, and had another strong day, catching 10 passes for 103 yards and 2 TDs. Andrews is now 2nd in the SFL with 72 catches for the season. Wide receiver Tanner Gentry complemented Andrews brining in 11 passes for 78 yards. The Oklahoma pass defense had an impressive afternoon, holding Cardale Jones to just 174 yards passing, no TDs and 2 interceptions. The defense also recorded a season-high five sacks, with DT Gabe Wright accounting for 2 of the sacks and Jimmy Bean improving his sack total for the season to 7. With superstar safety Kenny Vaccoro injured early in the 1st quarter, rookie George Odum stepped in performed well with 7 tackles and a pass deflection.
What went wrong: As noted earlier, the Roughnecks run defense was non-existent. While Jones was stopped through the air, the came could not be said of Perine on the ground. Coach Morris has to be concerned as well with an astonishing 11 penalties for 148. For the team to be playing with such a lack of discipline this late in the season is quite disturbing. Landry Jones struggled, throwing 3 interceptions and a passer rating of 64.2. In overtime, the Roughneck’s completely fell apart, with drives of 6 plays for 1 yard and 3 plays for -7 yards.
Analysis: Since starting the season 0-6, even with this weekend’s loss, the Roughneck’s are 4-2 over the last 6 games. If you’re a glass half-full person, you have to be impressed with the competitiveness of the team even in losses like this. Over the past six games, the two losses are by a combined 13 points. In addition to Andrews and Orlando Brown, Oklahoma is playing a number of other rookies consistently who continue to develop nicely, including linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo (42 tackles, 5 stuffs, 4 sacks) and CB/Ret Tremone Smith (24 kick returns, 599 yards, 25 yards per return). If you’re a glass half-empty person, you focus on the complete lack of discipline the team is showing with an absurd amount of penalties, and the fact that two expansion teams have better records than the Roughnecks.
With 4 games remaining, Coach Morris and his staff will likely use the remainder of the season to look at some of the younger prospects who haven’t seen much of the field yet. OT Chris Clark is out with injury, meaning that 2nd round draft pick Will Richardson will get his first start of the season. Also look for George Odum to replace Major Wright at the free safety position and rookie linebacker D’Juan Hines to be inserted into the starting group as well.
What’s next: Oklahoma travels to Miami (5-7) for an expansion team battle.