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OU football: Perrion Winfrey’s ‘disgusting’ hit sparks Sooners’ best pass-rush performance in win over Iowa State

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Perrion Winfrey

Senior defensive lineman Perrion Winfrey hits Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy during the final home game against Iowa State on Nov. 20.

The #Sooners celebrated Senior Day by skirting the Cyclones in a 28-21 victory. Watch our highlights from the eventful day:

Filmed by Justin Jayne and Collin McDaniel

Edited by Collin McDaniel

Perrion Winfrey wanted to wreak havoc. 

Late in the first quarter of Oklahoma’s game Saturday against Iowa State, the senior nose guard sprinted toward opposing quarterback Brock Purdy, who scrambled to find an open receiver on third-and-12. As Purdy turned by toward midfield, Winfrey lowered his shoulder, delivering a devastating, but legal hit. 

The blow was perhaps the biggest play of the game.

“After that, you could kind of feel the energy change,” said senior safety Delarrin Turner-Yell, who finished with a team-high 11 tackles and an interception. “I went up to Perrion after that series and I’m like, ‘Perrion, you really set the tone for this game'. Around here, we all know what Perrion is capable of. And we’ve just been waiting for him to play like that.”

Or, as Winfrey said to OU sideline reporter Chris Plank on the on-field radio broadcast after the game, “I wanted to hit (Purdy) in a way he felt for the rest of his life.” 

Winfrey’s violence sparked the best defensive line performance this season for No. 13 OU (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) in its 28-21 win over the Cyclones (6-5, 4-4) on senior day. The unit tallied 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks, both season highs, despite Iowa State allowing just 12 sacks all season entering the game. 

“It’s the best defensive front in the conference,” Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell said. “They have been. … What a challenge, but the reality of it is they’re outstanding on the defensive front.”

The Sooners, who had only seven sacks in their previous five games, turned their struggles to create pressure into a personal vendetta, according to redshirt junior outside linebacker Nik Bonitto. 

“That was probably one of the most disgusting plays I’ve ever seen in my life,” Bonitto said. “... I didn’t think Purdy was going to get up after that. That was a great play by Perrion."

In the Sooners’ 27-14 loss to Baylor last week, they failed to create pressure on quarterback Gerry Bohanon, who wasn’t sacked and ran for over 100 yards with two touchdowns. But defensive coordinator Alex Grinch noticed something different Saturday.

“I thought today you saw the consistency aspect of things,” Grinch said. “And even guys being able to do it not just once, but a willingness to continue to kind of keep chipping away.”

Oklahoma’s defense again bailed out its offense, which gained just 305 yards, only 96 of which came through the air. Freshman quarterback Caleb Williams completed only 44 percent of his passes for 87 yards and an interception. The OU defense held Iowa State to a lackluster 4.1 yards per play, but surrendered 361 yards, largely due to the Cyclones’ whopping 38 minute, 20 second time of possession. 

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Isaiah Thomas led the way with two sacks, while five others had one.

“I think the biggest thing we saw was we finished a lot of plays,” head coach Lincoln Riley said. “We finished very physically. … We got a couple pretty big shots on Brock (Purdy). I think (not) just our pressure, but our physicality really showed up. I was excited about the physicality I saw on the football field.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman Jalen Redmond benefitted from the tone set by Winfrey, garnering a team-high four quarterback hurries — the most by an OU player since Ogbonnia Okoronkwo had five against Texas in 2017. Redmond also recovered a fumble with 28 seconds left in the first half, resulting in a 42-yard touchdown that gave OU a 14-7 lead at halftime.

“The defense was incredibly impactful,” Riley said. “Including maybe one of the biggest plays of the game, the Redmond fumble recovery for a touchdown right before halftime (was) fantastic there.”

With the Sooners needing to respond in a big way after last week, their defensive front did just that. All ignited by Winfrey’s hit.

“I’m glad that wasn’t me,” Riley said. “That was a shot. Those are some of the momentum plays that just get you going, get your crowd going. The crowd was going crazy at that point. 

“That was a big-time play.”

Austin Curtright is a journalism junior and one of The Daily's assistant sports editors. He covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, softball and soccer.

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