The national rankings aren't typical.
After three games, the Sooners are 89th nationally in total defense (408.0 yards a game), 90th in run defense (184.7).
What was OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables' reaction after watching Air Force compile 458 total yards, 351 on the ground?
"We're not even grading this tape," Venables said. "It doesn't do us any good, so we're going right on down the road."
Air Force's option is unique. Utah State's offense isn't like spread offenses OU will see during conference play.
But after watching film of the Sooners' 27-24 win, a closer look reveals why Air Force had only one three-and-out.
More than half of Air Force's rushing yards (187) came between the tackles.
The Falcons were 11-of-18 on third-down conversions.
"We tried to explain to everybody they're going to get their yards, they're going to possess the football," Venables said. "Of their 10 possessions, on seven of them they scored a total of three points, which is excellent against a team like that."
Those other three possessions, though, were lengthy TD drives, including two fourth-quarter drives that resulted in OU's lowest margin of victory during a 33-game home winning streak.
Playing Air Force and Utah State makes it difficult to draw definitive conclusions. But without a Gerald McCoy or Tommie Harris to anchor the middle, the interior defense remains a work in progress.
Sophomore defensive tackles Stacy McGee and Casey Walker are first-year starters. McGee had eight tackles against Air Force.
Senior Adrian Taylor still isn't 100 percent following a severe ankle injury. Jamarkus McFarland looks like a young player learning on the job. True freshman Daniel Noble was on the field a lot the second half and should see more playing time.
Is it as simple as the Sooners will produce more dominant Florida State-like outings when they play familiar spread offenses?
Or have the Aggies and Falcons revealed a defense with six new starters might not be as dominant as some forecast?
The answer to that question could determine whether the Sooners win another Big 12 title.
Quarterback Landry Jones was inconsistent. When he struggled at times in the second quarter, Jones didn't plant his feet and step into throws. Jones' rhythm was better in the second half, especially the third quarter when OU built a 27-10 lead. ... DeMarco Murray is pounding out tough yards but still has a burst around the corner. ... Ryan Broyles' route running is exceptional, but he also has shifty moves. More than half of his receiving yards were yards after the catch. ... As a team, OU had 120 receiving yards after the catch. ... The play of the game was Murray's 17-yard reception on a screen pass. Not only did the play catch the Falcons flat footed, the blocking allowed Murray to score without being touched. ... The Sooners had four dropped passes, two each by Cameron Kenney and Mossis Madu. ... The offensive line will rotate eight players. Center Ben Habern and right tackle Eric Mensik are locked in. The other three spots will rotate six players. ... In his first start, tackle Jarvis Jones was flagged for a false start and holding.
Strong safety Jonathan Nelson played the option as well as anyone. Nelson left the game late in the third quarter following a helmet-to-helmet hit. Nelson wasn't on the field during Air Force's two fourth-quarter TD drives. ... Linebacker Travis Lewis had his best game (13 tackles). Like all OU defenders, Lewis got confused a couple of times but fought off blocks and pursued well to make a ton of plays. ... True freshman nickel back Tony Jefferson, solid once again, continues to show why many believe he will be a star. ... True freshman defensive tackle Daniel Noble was exploited on a couple of big plays but made plays that show why coaches like his long-term potential. ... Middle linebacker Tom Wort delivers punishing tackles but sometimes is out of position. ... Sophomore David King has earned the top defensive end reserve spot ahead of Pryce Macon and R.J. Washington.