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OU football notebook: Sooners defense still struggling

FROM STAFF REPORTS Modified: September 26, 2010 at 7:05 am •  Published: September 25, 2010

The Sooners entered the game ranked 89th in total offense and will fall further after Cincinnati compiled 461 yards, the most OU has allowed this season.

Several coaches and players said Air Force's unique option attack was a key reason why the Falcons compiled huge offensive numbers last week. Cincinnati's traditional offense was supposed to allow OU's defense to put up a Florida State-like performance.

It didn't happen.

Cincinnati tailback Isaiah Pead rushed for 169 yards on 21 carries.

“It all starts in the running game,” said OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables. “We got really exposed there. We’ve gotta improve.”

Venables said Cincy’s offense was “not real tricky. It’s very basic.”

Venables said the problem was in the interior, “particularly my position (linebacker).”


Cincinnati wide receiver D.J. Woods was flying down field for an apparent go-ahead 78-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter. But OU strong safety Jonathan Nelson punched the ball out of Woods’ grasp at the 5-yard line. Free safety Quinton Carter recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

Nelson said his play was “more instinctive” than a planned attack as he tried to run down Woods. “He’s running for his life, the ball was more loose than usual.”

Nelson said it was not his responsibility to cover the middle of the field, where Woods roamed free for the deep catch, but Nelson also wouldn’t finger Carter as the culprit.

But Nelson did say that Carter “did say thanks, you saved me.”


Statisticians credited deep snapper James Winchester with recovering Woods’ muffed punt late in the fourth quarter. But James Hanna was the Sooner who wrestled it away from Woods.

“It took away from him, then Winchester took it away from me while we were standing up,” Hanna said.

Woods muffed the punt at the Cincinnati 7-yard line and fell immediately on the ball, but Hanna pounced on him. “The game was really tight,” Hanna said. “I just made sure I was down there.”

Box Score: OU, 31 - Cincinnati, 29

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