Among the more impressive things that Oklahoma’s defense has accomplished through the early part of the season is the fact that through three games the Sooners have yet to be scored upon in the second quarter. Typically using that second 15 minutes of the game to put some distance between themselves and their opponent, OU is outscoring it’s opponents by a combined score of 51-0 and that includes a 0-0 draw against Nebraska.
Oklahoma held the Cornhuskers to just three first half points on Saturday while also holding them to a season low of 95 rushing yards at a rate of 2.5 yards per carry, which was also a season low. The “Speed D” also forced another turnover on Saturday, giving them at least one in each of the first three games.
What Went Right
Run Defense – Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez came into the game against Oklahoma averaging 85.33 rushing yards per game and 7.66 yards per carry. Against the Sooners he only managed 34 yards on 17 carries for an average of two yards per carry. Nebraska’s 95 total rushing yards on the day was well under its season average of 238.66 per game.
Pressure in the backfield – For the second week in a row we’re mentioning this. The pressure that Oklahoma’s defensive front can bring is outstanding. The Sooners recorded a season-high five quarterback sacks on Saturday, 4 quarterback hurries, and 10 tackles for loss.
Nik Bonitto – Finished with five total tackles (three for loss), and two quarterback sacks.
DaShaun White – Paced the defense with 10 total tackles.
Perrion Winfrey – Continues to be a dominating force in the middle of the offensive line that opens avenues for his teammates to make big plays. I brought this up in an earlier post but look at how many blockers Winfrey occupies on this play where Jalen Redmond gets a sack.
Special Teams – Technically special teams are a part of the defense and while Gabe Brkic did miss a 54-yard field goal attempt the blocked extra point by Isaiah Coe and subsequent return by Pat Fields for a 2-point conversion was a huge momentum shift.
Oklahoma ranks 7th nationally with 13 total quarterback sacks. The Sooners have the 89th ranked pass defense among FBS schools with an average of 236 yards allowed through the air per game. Stout against the run, OU ranks 21st among FBS schools with an average of 83.3 rushing yards allowed per game. The Sooners are also 13th in fumbles recovered with five.
OU ranks 46th in total defense at 319.3 yards per game and 32nd in scoring defense with opponents scoring an average of 17 points per game.
Top 3 Defensive Plays Against Nebraska
3. Nik Bonitto’s late sack
2. Isaiah Coe’s block and Pat Fields’ return
1. DJ Graham’s interception
What did we get miss?
What Went Wrong
Slow to adjust on motion plays – This was a problem against Tulane and it was a problem again on Saturday. Teams will continue to run motion at this defense until they prove that they can’t be taken advantage of anymore.
Pass Defense – In a way this goes back to motion because a lot of what the Huskers accomplished through the air came with tight ends or running backs going in motion. Regardless, Nebraska averaged 11.6 yards per pass play which is way too much and should give ample reason for concern going into conference play.
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