Sooner Defense Bitten By The Big Play Once Again

Sept 8, 2012; Norman OK, USA; Florida A&M Rattlers wide receiver Anthony Williams (11) is tackled by Oklahoma Sooners defensive back Javon Harris (30) during the first quarter at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

The overall body of work is impressive once again for the Oklahoma defense but just like last week against UTEP the Sooners gave up a big play that caused more than a few eyebrows to raise up. Overall, OU gave up just 13 points and 235 total yards to Florida A&M but 75 of those yards all came on one play. However, unlike last week's long run by UTEP, the Sooners may have a legitimate excuse this time.

Starting free safety Tony Jefferson left the game with a sprained ankle, leaving backup Jesse Paulsen on the field for the majority of the defensive snaps. Paulsen did a good job in providing coverage and also recorded three tackles. However, on one play he left corner Demontre Hurst by himself and the result was a 75-yard strike from FAMU quarterback Damien Fleming to Travis Harvey. It was the type of play that had a starter been in there then it would have conjured up a ton of memories from last season. However, in a 69-13 blowout win, with a backup in the game, then you chalk it up as a learning experience and hope that Paulsen got the message in case there is a next time.

The defense was really good but the one play. When you play man as much as we do, a corner at times may be in a tough spot. But the safety busted his assignment of going high to limit that play. So that's again where we've done a better job overall of not having those errors and being where we should be. There's one case we don't and, again, it's a big play so that's another area we've got to continue to do a better job communicating and not allowing that. - Bob Stoops on FAMU's 75-yard touchdown

Beyond that play, there's not really a lot to complain about without nitpicking. The Sooner defense recorded five quarterback sacks, held the Rattlers to 3-16 on third down and 2.2 yards per carry on 28 rushing attempts. Safety Javon Harris is my pick for defensive "Player of the Game." Harris recorded four tackles and an interception but was also good in coverage and laid the wood on a couple of Florida A&M ball carriers.

Position Grades

Defensive Line

Young guys Jordan Phillips and Marquis Anderson got in the game and had three tackles each. Senior tackle Jamarkus McFarland recorded a team high two sacks and defensive end R.J. Washington also recorded three tackles. Overall Grade: A


Aaron Franklin led the team with six tackles and he also recorded a sack. Tom Wort was second on the team with five tackles, one of them being for loss. More importantly, FAMU only averaged 2.2 yards per rush which is an improvement over last week for the Sooner defense. Grade: A


You can't give up a 75-yard touchdown pass and get an "A" for a grade. However, when you consider that outside of that one play FAMU you only had 99 passing yards for the remainder of the game then you can see the potential of how good this secondary really can be. Grade: -B


The defensive ends still seem to struggle at times with sealing the edge and keeping containment. The Sooners looked susceptible at times to misdirection plays that attack the edge and if I picked that up then you know that Bill Snyder did as well.

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