NORMAN — It took OU a while to get going, but the Sooners finally started to look like the team that won their first game late in the second quarter against Kent State on Saturday at Gaylord Family — Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
The Sooners avoided the upset bug that plagued college football, knocking off the Golden Flashes 33-3.
Before the focus turns to next week’s game at Nebraska, here are five takeaways from the Sooners’ win:
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Marvin Mims’ career game
Marvin Mims had some memorable games during his two-plus seasons in Norman.
Had four catches for 132 yards and two scores against TCU as a freshman in 2020.
Then last season against Texas he was a big reason for OU’s monumental comeback with five catches for 136 yards and a pair of scores.
But on Saturday, Mims had the best game of his career at OU, finishing with seven catches for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Mims added a 41-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter, eventually being pushed out of bounds by the Kent State punter.
Mims had touchdown catches of 36 and 58 yards. It was Mims’ fifth career game with two touchdown receptions.
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The pace of the upcoming slow
Earlier in the week, OU offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said one of the biggest keys to running at his desired pace is picking up first downs.
“You can’t play fast if you’re only on the field for three snaps,” Lebby said.
That was certainly the case Saturday, as the Sooners struggled to move the ball in the first half.
OU scored a point on each of its first four drives.
It wasn’t until the Sooners were forced to rush — and forced to throw — that they finally got the offense moving at a fast pace.
With 1:10 left in the second quarter, the Sooners got the ball back to their 24 with a chance to regain some momentum after halftime.
After completions by Eric Gray and Theo Wease, Dillon Gabriel shut down Mims.
Mims caught three straight passes.
The first two came down the sideline for 13 and 14 yards before Mims ran out of bounds.
In the third, it was time to take a shot deep and Mims rewarded the call with a 36-yard touchdown haul with 18 seconds to play before halftime to put the Sooners up 7-3.
OU eventually outscored Kent State 158-154 in the first half, but had just seven yards before halftime.
Gray, who had his best game with the Sooners in last week’s win over UTEP, had four carries for nine yards, while neither of the other running backs — Jovantae Barnes and Marcus Major — fared better.
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Stutsman, the defense is huge
Sophomore lineman Danny Stutsman had his first career double-digit tackle total with 12 tackles.
Stutsman also more than doubled his career total for tackles for loss with four, which included a sack of Kent State quarterback Collin Schlee late in the third quarter.
The Sooners’ defense showed a lot of bend-but-don’t-break early, before getting much better in the second half.
Stutsman was one of three Sooners with at least 10 tackles. Justin Broiles and Billy Bowman each had 11.
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Offensive line shuffling
One of the Sooners’ offensive issues early on was the inconsistent play of their offensive line.
With Anton Harrison starting at right tackle in the opener and Tyler Guyton on the left side, the tackles switched positions for much of Saturday’s game.
In the third quarter, both Harrison and Guyton went down with injuries on the same play.
While Harrison returned quickly, Guyton missed the rest of the drive, with freshman Jacob Sexton taking over as the Sooners eventually settled for a 25-yard field goal to go up 17-3.
But Guyton returned shortly afterwards and remained on the right side for the rest of his time in the game.
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Late in the second quarter, OU’s defense forced Kent State to punt.
Some fans in the stands groaned when a flag dropped in the backfield, fearing a tough call on the player.
But instead, Kent State was penalized five yards on the end of the punt.
Bryan Bradford and Bryce Sheppert were both on the field for the Golden Flashes in the game.
Bradford, a running back, and Sheppert, a safety, both wear the same number – 31.
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OU vs. Kent State live updates
This article originally appeared in The Oklahoman: OU vs. Kent State football: Marvin Mims, Sooners beat Golden Flashes