Especially on the road.
In three away games â€” Cincinnati, Missouri and Texas A&M â€” the Sooners allowed a total of 18 plays that went for 20 yards or more. Those 18 plays comprised close to half of the 1,329 total yards OU gave up in those games.
Permit that trend to continue against the likes of Baylor, OSU and Nebraska, and the Sooners not only won't run the table, they'll risk being run out of the stadium.
â€œThose offenses have got the kind of skill that, when you give up a crease, you get your eyes in the wrong place and let a guy behind you, they're hitting their head on the goal posts,â€ Venables said. â€œIt'll be incredibly important that we can keep the ball inside and in front of us. We've got to get that corrected obviously the next two weeks.â€
OU's defense, however, showed signs of turning a corner against Tech in probably its best outing of the season. After the Red Raiders scored their opening drive with the help of some gimmick plays, OU dominated, holding Tech to its lowest scoring output in four years. Even more encouraging, after that first drive the Sooners relinquished only two plays of 20 yards or more: a pair of Baron Batch runs.
â€œHopefully our guys use this to get some momentum from playing well against a quality Tech offense that's done well all year,â€ Venables said
Keep it going in Waco and in Stillwater and beyond, and this Sooner defense won't be remembered for capitulating in Columbia. Or crumbling in the fourth quarter in College Station.
Instead, it will be recalled as one that spearheaded the Sooners to another Big 12 Championship.