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Short-handed OU defense struggles in loss to Texas Tech

by Michael Baldwin Published: October 23, 2011

There were warning signs Oklahoma's defense might wash away a shot at a national title long before dark, ominous clouds rolled into Norman Saturday night.

All three phases can share blame for a 41-38 loss to Texas Tech that squashed hopes of the Sooners playing in the national championship game.

But at the top of the list is a defense that surrendered 572 yards.

“It's shocking,” said defensive end Frank Alexander. “You never want to give up that many yards. We pride ourselves on being a great defense. We didn't display that.”

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables said he wasn't shocked.

“I'm disappointed,” Venables said. “I watched what happened. I understand the fundamental things that broke down. It does not surprise me. You're going to get beat when you don't do certain things.”

The Sooners didn't do a lot of things. Didn't tackle well. Didn't cover well.

Texas Tech looked like a Mike Leach offense in Lubbock. The Red Raiders methodically marched to touchdown drives that covered 54, 78, 69, 72 and 74 yards.

“There's probably a combination of a number of things that broke down,” Venables said. “Some of it was just tackling. Some of it was some gap integrity. In the first half they had us on our heels.”

OU's defense looked national title contender caliber in a lopsided win over Texas.

The defense looked national title contender caliber in a statement win at Florida State, a game hyped for months.

OU's defense looked national title contender caliber in 20 of the first 24 quarters the first six games.

But the other four quarters — the first and fourth quarters against Missouri and the first half at Kansas — were signs this defense isn't consistent enough to be mentioned with Alabama's and LSU's dominant defenses.

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by Michael Baldwin
Redhawks, Barons, MLB, NFL 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...
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OU by the numbers

7 Texas Tech plays 20 yards or longer

27 Red Raider first downs

96 Plays Texas Tech ran

452 Texas Tech passing yards

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