December 07, 2008
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Oklahoma 62, Missouri 21. The focus tonight, deservedly, will be the ongoing exuberance of the Sooner offense, over 500 yards and 45 points for the seventh game in a row, and over 60 for the fifth in a row. For SEC fans, and maybe a few very bitter Longhorns, the focus of the next month will be on the Sooners' lack of D. It's hard to argue otherwise based on the numbers, with OU ranking 66th in total defense and 60th in scoring D coming into tonight and having given up 45 and 41, respectively, in its marquee games against Texas and Oklahoma State.
Twice in the last three weeks, though, the Sooners have two glittering, diamond-encrusted defensive efforts to put in front of the skeptics, against two of the most prolific offenses in the country outside of their own. Against Texas Tech, OU held an offense averaging 47 points in its other 11 games to seven points, three punts, two turnovers on downs and an interception in the first half; the vast majority of the Raiders' eventual 400-yard night came after they trailed 51-7 early in the third quarter. Tonight, against an offense averaging 500-plus yards and 45 points in its first 12 games, Oklahoma held Missouri scoreless on six of the Tigers' first seven drives and led 41-7 before Mizzou gained the bulk of its 360 yards in the third and fourth quarters. In the first half alone, Chase Daniel was sacked three times, fumbled once and was intercepted once. Look at those scores again if necessary. Daniel and Graham Harrell may as well have played 40 minutes in handcuffs.
Not including gimme wins over Chattanooga and Washington, the Sooners' average halftime advantage for the season is 36-14; since losing to Texas, it's 42-15. Just something to keep in mind when the "one-dimensional/no defense" buzz begins in earnest.