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Oklahoma football: This time the defense bailed out the Sooners

OKLAHOMA 16, WEST VIRGINIA 7 — A year ago the Sooner defense crumbled against West Virginia. But Saturday night in Norman, Gabe Lynn, Corey Nelson and Co. stood tall.
by Jason Kersey Published: September 7, 2013


photo - Oklahoma's Kass Everett (23) tips the hand of Paul Millard (14) for a fumble during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the West Virginia University Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma's Kass Everett (23) tips the hand of Paul Millard (14) for a fumble during a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the West Virginia University Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

OU's defense again forced West Virginia into a three-and-out.

Early in the third quarter, the Sooners had seemingly found their groove on offense, when Brennan Clay gained 34 and 26 yards on back-to-back runs and West Virginia committed a personal foul, giving OU a first-and-goal situation on the Mountaineers' 4-yard line.

It was then, though, that Knight threw the first of his two third-quarter interceptions, once again killing any momentum the Sooners had built.

Five plays later, senior safety Gabe Lynn intercepted West Virginia quarterback Paul Millard and giving OU's offense the ball near midfield.

Clay gained 32 yards, and then was stuffed for a loss of two before another errant Knight pass was intercepted inside the West Virginia 5.

The Sooners' defense — getting little time to rest during the back-and-forth — finally looked winded as West Virginia marched toward the Sooners' end zone. Millard completed a 19-yard pass to Kelvin White, but junior safety Quentin Hayes forced a fumble that Lynn recovered.

“This year it's a different defense,” said senior linebacker Corey Nelson. “We probably would've crumbled (last year).”

Oklahoma's defense wasn't perfect, though. In the first quarter, West Virginia running back Dreamius Smith took a handoff up the middle, broke tackles from Lynn and Nelson and sprinted the rest of the 75 yards for the game's first score.

Outside of that play, West Virginia gained only 94 rushing yards on 23 carries.

“Once you get into the flow of the game, you just felt like it was very uncomfortable,” said defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. “It kept our players on edge. We could never separate from them.”

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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