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November 19, 2013

Hot 11: Iowa State

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The Sooner Hot 11 is a SoonerScoop.com ranking, compiled by associated editor Josh McCuistion, of the previous Saturday's top performers and Oklahoma may not have started in the manner they'd hoped against Iowa State but quickly found their groove on their way to a 48-10 win over lowly Iowa State. And though it wasn't quite the dominant they got back on the right track with three quarters of strong football with numerous big performances.

11. Eric Striker, Linebacker - Stats: Six tackles (five solo), one sack (seven yards).
Analysis: Comparatively speaking it wasn't a pinnacle performance from Striker but there can be no denying he was disruptive from beginning to end. Striker's sack was something of evidence of just how damaging he can be. The talented sophomore was relentless from beginning to end and is a huge part of Oklahoma's defensive dominance - particularly in the second half.Last Week: N/A
10. Brennan Clay, Running Back - Stats: Seven carries for 86-yards and one 63-yard touchdown.
Analysis: Clay was steady with the exception of his big run in the third quarter but there is no way of leaving off a play that was as big as Clay's. The thing that often goes forgotten for a running back is their ability to block and Clay did a nice job both on picking up some blocks as well as in play action situations.Last Week: N/A
9. Zack Sanchez, Cornerback - Stats: Three tackles (two solo), one pass break-up.
Analysis: It was undoubtedly Sanchez's most quiet night of the season as he's been a product of one big play after another. However after Aaron Colvin's injury it seems pretty clear that Iowa State decided to go away from Sanchez unlike previous weeks when he was opposite the All-American candidate. Sanchez was quiet, but for a corner that's not always a bad thing.Last Week: N/A
8. Frank Shannon, Linebacker - Stats: Eight tackles (3 solo), two sacks (13 yards), 2.5 tackles for loss (13 yards).
Analysis: A lot of people have talked about Oklahoma's move to the three man front, even more have talked about the loss of Corey Nelson but few have given credit to Shannon who every week looks more and more like a difference maker for the Sooners at the linebacker position. While trying to learn the new defense he is also busy making sure a group of young linebackers learn as much as they can.Last Week: N/A
7. Charles Tapper, Defensive End - Stats: One tackle, .5 tackle for loss (one yard).
Analysis: Tapper's stat line may not look that impressive and though the impact may have been a bit overstated as the defense as a whole was simply more sound, and aggressive, in the second half. That being said there is no denying there is some correlation between Oklahoma's new found pressure in the second half and Tapper's return from suspension. The sophomore defensive end didn't put a lot of numbers up but Iowa State's offense made sure to account for him on each snap.Last Week: N/A
6. Aaron Ripkowski, Fullback - Stats: One three-yard touchdown reception.
Analysis: OK, I admit it, the touchdown pushed this guy over the top. It was something like seeing a unicorn for an Oklahoma (quasi) tight end to score. Aside from the touchdown though was also Ripkowski's blocking which was stellar from beginning to end. It may seem a small thing but considering how different his role is from where it had been in the last year. The big and physical blocker sealed edges as well as serving as a strong lead-blocker. Last Week: N/A
5. Dominique Alexander, Linebacker - Stats: 11 tackles (eight solo), one tackle for loss (one yard).
Analysis: People can talk about his errors, and they are still there but the poor decisions are becoming the lesser part of his game. Alexander's athleticism is starting to take over and he is making plays from sideline to sideline. On a key third down in the second quarter Alexander tracked down an Iowa State running back and forced a punt. If not for his ability to read the play and quickly get to the edge it might have been a chain mover for the Cyclones. Last Week: N/A
4. Daryl Williams, Offensive Tackle - Stats: N/A.
Analysis: Williams has been a bit up and down this year but when he has played well he has made a big difference. The big right tackle opened up numerous holes alongside Bronson Irwin as the two have come together as a tandem through the latter part of the year. Williams was strong in run blocking but as always it's pass pro where he really shows just how elite his potential is.Last Week: N/A
3. Trevor Knight, Quarterback - Stats: 8-14 for 61-yards along with 10 carries for 123-yards and a 56-yard touchdown.
Analysis: In the history of the Hot 11, it's safe to say a quarterback who completed eight passes has never made the list. However, that's just how wild Knight ran against the Cyclones. And moreover it's not simply a matter of Knight putting up numbers on the ground - which he did - but also what his ability as a runner made possible for other players on this list. It opened up lanes for his running backs and also created some passing lanes for the eight completions.Last Week: N/A
2. Jalen Saunders, Wide Receiver - Stats:. Three catches for 15-yards and a 91-yard punt return for touchdown
Analysis: Saunders' punt return for touchdown was, without a doubt, the play of the game. The elite receiver was playing his final game in a career that Sooners fans will know was far too short next season. Though he may not have put up a lot of numbers as a receiver his downfield blocking was a key element in how the Sooners had three touchdown runs of over 55-yards on the day. Last Week: N/A
1. Damien Williams, Running Back - Stats: 10 carries for 128-yards and two touchdowns (69, 19) along with one reception for eight yards.
Analysis: Williams' two scores may have accounted for the boat load of his yardage but even without his two scores, he still averaged nearly eight yards per carry - an impressive day for anyone. The talented tailback has been a bit slow with his big year but was definitely back on the right track in his final career game in Norman.Last Week: N/A

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