OU football notebook: Defense bends, then finishes strong

After Irish tight end Troy Niklas scored early in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame couldn't move the football.
by Ryan Aber and Jason Kersey Published: September 29, 2013


photo - Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops talks with players during a timeout in a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Oklahoma won 34-0. Photo by Bryan Terry The Oklahoman
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops talks with players during a timeout in a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the University of Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Oklahoma won 34-0. Photo by Bryan Terry The Oklahoman

DEFENSE BENDS, THEN FINISHES STRONG

On the second play of the fourth quarter in Oklahoma's 35-21 win at Notre Dame on Saturday night, Fighting Irish tight end Troy Niklas caught a Tommy Rees pass with no Sooners defenders anywhere close and Niklas cruised in for a 30-yard touchdown.

After the play, Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was upset with defensive back Quentin Hayes. OU head coach Bob Stoops soon joined his brother's “conversation” with Hayes.

It wasn't the first time the Sooners had coverage issues in the second half.

“That goes back to the way they were running the ball,” Mike Stoops said. “It got us out of whack. I had a feeling that was coming. Our position wasn't what it needed to be and structurally that's my fault. We just have to come up with a little more variety, which we are learning through this process as we go along.”

After Niklas' score, though, Notre Dame couldn't move the ball. Rees completed a 9-yard pass on the first play of the next drive, then the Fighting Irish were stopped for a 2-yard loss on a run and Rees missed on his last seven pass attempts to end the game.

IKARD CREDITS COOPER

At the top of the tunnel after the win, Oklahoma center Gabe Ikard found Sooners assistant offensive line coach — and former teammate — Jon Cooper and picked Cooper up in an embrace.


by Ryan Aber
Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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