Notebook: OU slows down Chuba Express
STILLWATER – Everybody knew the game plan. If Oklahoma State was going to win Bedlam vs. Oklahoma, it was going to be because of running back Chuba Hubbard.
Needing 168 yards to reach the magical 2,000-yard mark, he was going to need all of that for the win. The Sooners defense had another idea.
After a shaky start, OU’s defense rose to the challenge in a 34-16 victory at OSU on Saturday evening and slowed down Hubbard in the process.
“I thought he had a little bit of room early,” head coach Lincoln Riley “We made a few adjustments, settled in a little bit and fit the run a little bit better as the game went on. I thought the d-line was pretty disruptive. There weren’t too many clean running lanes, especially after that first quarter. The few times he did get loose, we did a good job of getting him on the ground and he didn’t pop.”
Hubbard had 79 yards and a touchdown in the first half. But with the game still in the balance, the Sooners defense shut him down. Hubbard was limited to 25 yards on eight carries and didn’t find the end zone as OSU only scored three points in the second half.
“Really the adjustment was to just take the extra step and make sure we wrapped him up,” defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles said. “He's a great back and his film speaks for itself. You just want to make sure you wrap a guy like that up.”
Radley-Hiles had a big role in that, leading the team with 10 tackles.
Basquine goes out in style
He’s a Norman kid, and now Nick Basquine is going to have a memory he can talk about for the rest of his life.
Basquine threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Hurts at the beginning of the second quarter. After a misstep on the same type of play at Kansas State, Basquine made this one count for his first career touchdown.
“Man, just going through the week knowing we had that it in, seemed like that had been eluding me trying to throw a TD pass,” Basquine said. “Finally got to get one in. My main concern was just taking care of the football on the pitch and then letting it rip. That was pretty much my thought process.”
Hurts took the snap from center and handed it off to CeeDee Lamb, who then pitched it to Basquine. Under heavy duress, all he had to do was loft it to Hurts, who was wide open.
“I just let it rip. You can’t think too much in those situations or that’s kind of where you’ll mess up or do things you shouldn’t be doing,” Basquine said. “We practiced that all week and trusted in the game plan and in my ability to throw the football. It worked out.”
Freshmen come up big
The loss of Jon-Michael Terry has been a little bit understated during the last month, but his replacements made their presence known against OSU.
Whether it was redshirt freshman Nik Bonitto or true freshman David Ugwoegbu, the pair delivered a banner outing.
“Those are two young guys that flash so much that you just want them to do it more consistently and I thought they stepped up and did that,” Riley said. “They both had some big plays. They do a good job of challenging each other for reps, keeping each other fresh, kind of feeding off of each other.
“And they are two very talented guys that are going to get better and better quickly. I thought they both showed up. You could feel there presence out there tonight.”
Ugwoegbu had five tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and broke up a fourth down conversion attempt. Bonitto had five tackles, tackle for loss and stopped Hubbard dead in his tracks on another fourth down conversion attempt.
Defense is getting it
You want a sign that the last few games have been different for the OU defense, let first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch fill you in.
“The things I notice is they’re talking like us now. They talk like the coaching staff. They’re saying the things before we have to say ‘em in terms of avoiding the noise and not making evaluations. “You can only win the game in the fourth quarter” — those are things that we keep kind of hitting them over the head with, now they’re hitting us with it. That’s a positive.”
OU only allowed three points in the second half and forced two takeaways to help keep OU’s playoff hopes alive.