Oklahoma led 21-13 at halftime, but had surrendered 245 yards of offense and allowed Cincinnati wide receiver Mardy Gilyard and others to run free in the secondary.
The second half was a different story, with the Bearcats managing just 81 yards over the final two quarters.
“We came in at halftime with emphasis on the fact that we had to stop them,” said OU defensive end Jeremy Beal. “The proper adjustments were made that obviously worked, because we played much better in the second half.
“In the third quarter especially, I think we did a good job at holding them and getting after their quarterback. We had a great third quarter.”
Injury report: OU defensive end Frank Alexander did not play and was wearing a protective cast on his right arm. Alexander was stabbed during a fight at a party after last weekend's win over Chattanooga. He was treated and released at the Norman Regional Hospital's emergency room. OU basketball freshman Ray Willis also suffered knife wounds in the fight.
Wide receiver Brandon Caleb was also out of the lineup.
He was wearing a walking boot on his left leg, having suffered an apparent ankle injury. Backup safety Quinton Carter also missed his second straight game recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.
Win-win situation: A price of $2,500 earned Dian Rowan of High Point, N.C., a behind the scenes experience auctioned off for Saturday's Cincinnati game.
Except she couldn't make the trip.
So Rowan did the next best thing.
She directed OU personnel to donate the package to a patient at Children's Hospital, resulting in a big day for 8-year-old Kiki Calton.
Calton, who has been through two bone marrow transplants, attended the game with her sister Jasmine.
The auction package: Two tickets to the game; two Sooner Club Tailgate passes, which included complimentary food and drinks; a spot on the sideline to watch pre-game warmups; VIP access with game day staff to experience what goes on behind the scenes.
Kiki and Jasmine also enjoyed a view of the game from the photo deck high atop the stadium, returned to the field in the second quarter to see the schooner roll onto the field following a Sooner score and watched the team head to the locker room at the half.