NORMAN — Exiting the Texas game, Oklahoma's defense appeared to be a turnover-creating machine.
The Sooners forced five Longhorns turnovers in the 55-17 win in Dallas. The indelible image is of OU cornerback Jamell Fleming ripping the ball away from UT's Mike Davis and returning it half the field for the final score.
Fleming put his hand to his forehead, to demonstrate the OU “Sharks” were attacking.
Things have changed, for whatever reason. In an uneven victory against Kansas and last week's upset loss to Texas Tech, Oklahoma had no takeaways. The Sooners had five giveaways in those games.
“It's what we've always done, try to strip the ball and get to it,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “Again, there isn't any magic to it. It's the other team, too. They're always a part of it.”
Even the would-be turnovers are getting foiled, seems like. Safety Javon Harris picked off a Jordan Webb pass in the Kansas game — but it was overturned because Corey Nelson was penalized for lining up offside. Harris had an interception against Texas taken away, too, because of an incorrect call by officials.
“It does seem like it's gone that way,” Harris said last week, “but it'll turn around. We've just got to have patience and we'll start getting those balls again.”
RED ZONE CONVERSIONS REMAIN CONCERN FOR OU
Oklahoma went 3 of 4 in its red-zone trips in the loss to Texas Tech. The missed conversion — Michael Hunnicutt's late missed field goal — was glaring.
But the Sooners also failed to score a touchdown in the third quarter when they had second-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The second-down play, with Trey Millard in at tailback, was blown up because of faulty blocking on the right side of the line. The Sooners settled for a short Hunnicutt kick, leaving points on the field. OU has 15 touchdowns in 24 goal-to-go situations.