NORMAN, Okla. – The USF defense, which was Arkansas’ doormat Sept. 14, improved tremendously for the Sooners.
After yielding 355 yards on the ground to the Razorbacks, the Bulls got stingy with the Sooners. Oklahoma’s ground attack picked up 49 yards in the first quarter but went backward from there, losing four yards in the three subsequent quarters.
The man most responsible for that improvement was senior linebacker Kawika Mitchell.
With his 12 stops, Mitchell set a team high for this season. The former Georgia transfer also had five tackles for loss, a pair shy of his total for all last season.
Utilizing a nickel defense to counterattack Oklahoma’s three-receiver sets, the Bulls went with Mitchell and Maurice Jones at linebacker most of the game.
Of Mitchell’s five stops behind the line of scrimmage, the Bulls middle linebacker registered two of USF’s three sacks.
“We had a good effort out of the whole team,” Mitchell said. “Against Arkansas, that wasn’t really ourselves, our football team.”
For the second straight game, USF avoided being shut out for the first time in its six-year history with a late score.
Against the Sooners, backup quarterback Ronnie Banks drove the Bulls down the field twice in the final two minutes to make the final score 31-14. With a minute and 58 seconds to play, Banks found tight end Mark Feldman on a play action pass at the goal line.
Banks then hooked up with Ryan Hearn for a 29-yard score with five seconds to play to keep USF’s scoring streak going for all 59 games in the Bulls’ history.
Oklahoma had a special halftime ceremony to honor former OU great and current USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon. Selmon was joined by his brother Dewey, who was also an All-American defensive lineman at OU.
Selmon is the only Oklahoma player to be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.
Missing though was eldest brother Lucious, an assistant coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“The people (in Norman) show a real regard for the Selmon brothers and what they accomplished at OU,” USF defensive tackle Lee Roy Selmon Jr. said. “It just shows you that they’ll never be forgotten. That’s real special.”
Selmon Jr. was unable to play due to torn knee ligaments suffered in the summer.