A tale of two halves. It's a cliche for a reason and it was never more fitting than this Saturday in Manhattan, KS. At least when applied to this Oklahoma defense and their 'make you want to pull your hair out' inconsistency. It's maddening to watch a defense play as dominantly as they did in the second half against the Wildcats and wonder who had possessed their piss poor tackling bodies in the first half??? With a 41 point win I don't want to spend a ton of time on the negative, but it needs to be addressed at least briefly. then I promise we'll move on to the good (i.e. the second half).
I'm not sure I know a word, or at least one that is allowed in this forum, to describe the OU defense's tackling (or lack there of as it were) in the first half. No disrespect to Collin Klein as he is clearly a talented runner and has made several defenses look bad, but the OU defense made him look like the second coming of Jim Brown or something. Repeatedly trying to deliver the "big hit" on QB run plays instead of performing the most simple task required of a defensive player, wrapping up!!! It lead to some very uneasy feelings early looking all too familiar to last week's performance against Texas Tech. The Wildcats had 213 yards at halftime, almost all of which had come on the ground. Also more than you'd like to see coming after initial contact.
So after arguably the most improbably field goal in school (NCAA?) history, OU has a six point lead at the half. K-State had those 213 yards and 17 points. They finished with 240 yards and 17 points. Or in more simple terms, they gained a mere 27 total yards and scored zero points in the second half. That folks is sheer and utter domination.
I don't know what in the h-e-double hockey sticks Bob Stoops and Brent Venables said to our defense in that locker room, but bra-freaking-vo gentlemen!!! Seriously, standing ovation type stuff. K-State could do absolutely nothing in the second half, literally. Now part of that is the lead the offense was able to generate, forcing Klein and the offense to have to pass. At that point any chance KSU might have had pretty much left the building much like the better part of their crowd. Forced to pass to get back in the game, the OU d-line was able to pin their ears back and get after the quarterback. The defense finished with seven sacks and seemed to pressure Klein at will in the second half.
Feel free to correct me in the comments if I'm wrong, but I'm not sure we can single out any one player on defense. It really felt like more of a team effort to me. Tony Jefferson tied for the team lead in tackles with six and had a sack, but he was perhaps the most egregious offender of the defense's poor tackling in the first half. Corey Nelson also had six tackles, got two sacks, but I don't really remember him standing out. Maybe Tom Wort, who I thought really made his presence known after missing that last game and a half, and his six tackles and two sacks. Ronnell Lewis and Frank Alexander had flashes, Aaron Colvin was his usual rock solid self, and I thought Sam Proctor stepped in and played well. I'll leave it up to you all, I'm going with a team MVP award.
On a related note, Gabe Lynn did not play a single snap. Now I know he was pretty awful last week, but be that as it may I'm not sure I see the point of him sitting the entire game today. I mean talking about absolutely destroying a kid's confidence. I think it would have made much more sense to work him in at some spots or get him in late when the game was well in hand. Just think that was a really poor decision by the coaches in my opinion.
A full four quarters of something close to what we saw in the second half would be just swell. They'll be facing a much more explosive offense next Saturday in Texas A&M and an Aggie team coming off a very disappointing loss looking to make a statement for their going away season. The home field invincibility was obliterated last week, so they'll have to get up for A&M and start a new home winning streak. It will take something at least vaguely resembling this second half Sooners defense to slow down the A&M attack. Let's pick a personality and go with it boys, oh and if it can be the one we saw today in that second half that would be just super!