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OU's defense vs. Kansas a tale of two halves

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, mbaldwin@opubco.com Published: October 16, 2011

After last week’s dominating defensive performance in the Cotton Bowl, Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables was asked if OU’s defense stacks up with SEC defensive giants Alabama and LSU.

Venables brushed off the comparison, stating his only focus was to show steady improvement the remainder of the season.

The Sooners’ defense was a story of two halves in a 47-17 win over Kansas Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.

“In the second half we played cleaner, tackled better and made them earn things,” Venables said. “The thing you can’t do is give up big plays and you have to get pressure on the quarterback. There are things you have to do on a consistent basis.”

The first half, the defense looked like the inconsistent unit against Missouri.

The second half, the defense dominated similar to performances against Florida State and Texas.

Kansas compiled 246 yards in the first half. The Jayhawks averaged 6.7 yards per rush attempt.

“We got angry,” said linebacker Travis Lewis. “They were talking an awful lot of trash. That got us going. We flipped the switch and settled down. Once we did that we dominated.”

In the second half the Jayhawks picked up only one first down. And that came in the waning minutes.

In the second half the Sooners held Kansas to six total yards.

On 27 plays.

But in the first half the Jayhawks had a lot of success.

“They had some big plays but we got it corrected,” Lewis said. “It’s going to happen. They’ve got some athletes. On the one play we thought the quarterback dropped the ball.”

Lewis was referring to the Jayhawks’ first touchdown.

After a five-minute delay in which Kansas center Jeremiah Hatch was taken to the hospital, the Jayhawks faced a fourth-and-1 from their own 44-yard line. Everyone expected a punt. Ryan Broyles was deep for the Sooners but quickly jogged off when KU ran its offense onto the field.

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