OU Defense Dominates As Sooners Beat The Longhorns

Chase Spivey

If you heard the score to the OU/Texas game was 10-3 at the half, would you believe it? If you heard that Texas would have 83 total yards at halftime, would you have believed that either?

Ok, last stat--if you heard that OU sacked Sam Ehlinger 4 times in the first half, would you completely stop listening? Can’t think of many people that would believe those stats after the way the Oklahoma defense performed last year. This is the Grinch effect and times are changing.

Coming into this week, all the buzz was around Jalen Hurts and whether he would be able to handle the pressure of what the Red River Rivalry entails. However, Hurts was not the focus for long, as the defense quickly became the star of the show.

Texas ran the ball for 100 yards on 36 attempts, which equates to a measly average of 2.8 yards. Outside of two runs from Roschon Johnson for 57 and 23 yards, respectively, the Longhorns managed only 20 yards on 34 attempts. This was a worry for Sooner fans coming into this week after Pooka Williams, of Kansas, seemed to be able to run at-will against the OU defense last week. Big plays from the likes of Kenneth Murray and Neville Gallimore forced the Longhorns into 2nd and long and 3rd and even longer plays today. There was no rhythm established for Sam Ehlinger and company.

The OU defense has been great on 3rd-downs, ranking 2nd overall in the country with just over a 19% conversion rate. Devin Duvernay is a catching machine for the Longhorns. Coming into the game, he led the country in receptions, with just over nine per game. The speedy receiver is a third-down matchup nightmare with over 33% of his catches coming on third downs to move the sticks. With Johnson at 6’6 and Eagles at 6’4, the Sooner DBs were going to be tested today. Constant pressure by the front seven, led to the Texas offense only converting 6-15 of their third-downs.

The Sooners did everything right on defense. Passes were defended well, pressure was applied to the quarterback, and tackles were made in space. The Grinch effect and all the speed he preaches paid off in a big way. Sam Ehlinger was sacked nine times today, led by Gallimore with two.

We haven't even discussed how the Sooners did on the offensive side of the ball. Ever heard of a guy named CeeDee Lamb, AKA, TD Lamb? If you haven't, you better familiarize yourself with him. He is on his way to winning the Biletnikoff trophy for best WR in the country. He had himself a ball game today, amassing 171 yards, 3 touchdowns and all of this on 10 catches.

The plays he made were nothing short of spectacular.

The offense was slow churning today. Although they moved the ball at will, the two costly turnovers, deep in the red-zone, hurt their chances to tack on some more points. Realistically, the game should have been over by halftime, as the Sooners should have had a three touchdown advantage. Jalen seemed to struggle, but his numbers didn’t indicate that. Hurts went 16-28 for 235 yards and 3 touchdowns on the day. He also utilized his legs and ran for 131 yards and a TD on 17 carries. Hurts will admit there is work to be done. However, if the running game can continue to average 7.26 yards per carry, the Heisman candidate doesn't have to carry such a heavy load on his shoulders.

If the stats don’t speak for themselves, the Sooners left Dallas with a 34-27 victory over their rivals, the Texas Longhorns and appear to be on their way to a fifth consecutive Big 12 Title.

The Sooners head back to Norman to face a familiar face in West Virginia QB, Austin Kendall. The former OU QB entered the transfer portal and was granted immediate eligibility, this past offseason. The matchup takes place next Saturday at 11am on FOX.

- by Austin Wood