OU football notebook: Sooners red zone defense a big factor

by Michael Baldwin Modified: October 3, 2010 at 6:59 am •  Published: October 2, 2010

Besides Texas defensive penalties keeping three of OU's four touchdown drives alive, the biggest factor in a 28-20 win Saturday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl was the Sooners twice held the Longhorns to field goals on first-and-goal situations.

"Our red zone defense is much improved," said OU linebacker Travis Lewis. "Even last week against Cincinnati we had that bend-don't-break defense. It's night and day from last year because last year when they got down there, guys would be tired and we'd give up touchdowns. This year we have a different attitude."

Said defensive coordinator Brent Venables: "Obviously that was a big difference in the game... Our guys buckled down and made some huge plays. You're looking at six, seven, eight plays where they really played their butts off at the right time."

LONGHORNS WERE INCHES AWAY

When Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones fumbled late in the game, a wild scramble ensued near the Texas sidelines. In the grasp of Emmanuel Acho, Jones batted the ball. UT linebacker Jared Norton raced to recover the bouncing ball but it trickled out of bounds.

"I thought we were going to pick it up and run it in for a touchdown," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "I was thinking about the 2-point play. (The ball) just sat there and sat there. Like the rest of the day it rolled out of bounds."

BOTCHED FAKE FIELD GOAL

Leading 28-17 with less than seven minutes to play, OU lined up for a 42-yard field goal. It turned into a 47-yard attempt following a false start penalty. The Sooners all along were planning to run a fake field goal.

"Our guys played it really well," Brown said. "I think it was the Michigan State play (in overtime against Notre Dame) where he stands up and throws it to the tight end down the middle. But he was covered. It didn't look as good as Michigan State. It looked good to me but I'm sure it didn't look as good to Bob (Stoops)."

Texas' sacked holder John Nimmo, a scout team quarterback, for a 13-yard loss. The Longhorns, though, failed to capitalize. Tom Wort's sack on first down keyed a three-and-out, forcing Texas to punt.

"The breeze was against us. I felt to me it picked up a little bit so I figured, 'Hey, why not give it a go,'" Stoops said. "I didn't plan on losing 12 yards. I thought he'd throw the ball away or try for an interference call... Fortunately the defense got us out of looking so bad."

UT DEFENSIVE PENALTIES COSTLY

Three times Texas appeared to have the Sooners stopped in the first half only to have costly third-down penalties keep two OU touchdown drives alive. It set a trend that defined the game.

On the third play of the game, OU faced third-and-12. Jones threw the ball away but Kennan Robinson's personal foul penalty gave the Sooners a first down. Later in the drive, a Kheeston Randall defensive holding penalty, also on third down, kept the drive alive. OU took advantage, marching 83 yards in 13 plays.

In the second quarter, another costly third-down penalty kept alive another OU touchdown drive when Chykie Brown was whistled for a questionable pass interference penalty. The Sooners again cashed in to lead 21-7 at halftime.

"Third-down penalties just kill momentum and field position," said Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. "I just want to watch film and see (what happened). I need to watch the film."

Years from now the most memorable penalty from the 2010 game might be an offsides penalty midway through the third quarter that wiped out a turnover after the Longhorns sacked Jones, forcing a fumble they recovered.

The final defensive blunder set up an OU fourth-quarter touchdown drive that gave the Sooners a three-possession lead. Long after the play was over, Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat was whistled for a late-hit on offensive tackle Donald Stephenson.

COLVIN SOLID IN FIRST START

True freshman cornerback Aaron Colvin made his first career start. Jamell Fleming suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter last week against Cincinnati and didn't practice all week. After playing the entire second half against Cincinnati, Colvin's first career start was in the Cotton Bowl.

"I'm just blessed to be in that position, to play in this game, let alone play the whole game and start," Colvin said. "I wasn't happy about that play late in the game but this is a great learning experience. Now I feel I can play with anybody."

Box Score: OU, 28 - Texas, 20
| |

by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
+ show more

Advertisement


Trending Now



AROUND THE WEB

  1. 1
    Barresi opposes bill to cut state testing in social studies
  2. 2
    Oklahoma basketball: Guard Je'lon Hornbeak to transfer
  3. 3
    Man re-arrested in Pakistan for cannibalism
  4. 4
    Report: Joe Buck, Greg Norman to lead Fox Sports' golf coverage in 2015
  5. 5
    Opinion: What if the government guaranteed you an income?
+ show more