Imagine having this year’s defense, play with last year’s offense. What would that team have looked like? Do they lose in the Cotton Bowl to their bitter rival, Texas? Do they perform better against Alabama in the national semi-final? Do they beat Clemson in the national title game? We will never know. One thing we do know is that with Alex Grinch now in charge, the defense is astoundingly better.
The beatdown put on the Longhorns on Saturday was evident; whether you were at the game, watched it on tv, or you just looked at the stat sheet. 9 sacks, 15 tackles-for-loss, and 71 tackles, nearly 20 more than Texas had for the entire game, are just a few of the stats that truly stand out.
The Sooners defense tied the school record for sacks in a game, and in doing so, jumped up to number 10 in the nation in total sacks. OU also currently ranks 41st in total defense, a far cry from near the bottom last year. Improvements don’t stop there, “Speed D” ranks 6th in yards-per-catch in pass defense, as well as number 9 overall in third down conversion percentage.
Going into the season, many people thought if this could be a top 50 defense--they may be able to compete against the big boys of Alabama and Clemson. Although there is still a lot of football left to be played, watching this defense fly around the field making plays, it would be tough to say they wouldn’t be competitive against any team that lined up across from them.
A couple more fun tidbits from the OU/Texas game:
- Sam Ehlinger is 16-10 as a starter
- Herman is now 1-3 against Riley
- Texas is 8-5 in their last 13 games
- Texas is 3-8 in their last 11 games against OU
- Texas ranks 112th in total defense
- Texas is now 4-2 and has no shot at the College Football Playoff
- Austin Wood
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