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2007 Oklahoma Sooner Football Season Revisited: Defensive Performance Against North Texas

Oklahoma’s offense was dominant over North Texas in the season opener but don’t over look the performance by the defense. OU’s defense was simply bigger, stronger and faster then their counterparts from Denton, TX.

After Oklahoma completed a 69 yard scoring drive on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead North Texas returned the ensuing kick-off to their own 20 setting up their first offensive possession.

3 plays, 7 yards, TOP 0:56
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 20 14:20 D. Meager passed to C. Fitzgerald to the left for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, UNT 25 13:45 Meager incomplete pass to the left
3rd-5, UNT 25 13:43 D. Meager passed to J. Thomas to the left for 2 yard gain
4th-3, UNT 27 13:36 T. Spencer punt. R. Smith returned punt for no gain

The North Texas spread attack managed only 7 yards on the first possession against Oklahoma’s defense. After punting the ball back to Oklahoma the Sooners would drive 68 yards to take a 14-0 lead. Following Oklahoma’s second kick-off the Mean Greed would set up shop for their second offensive possession on their own 24 yard line.

5 plays, 12 yards, TOP 1:57
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 24 11:38 J. Thomas rushed up the middle for 4 yard loss
2nd-14, UNT 21 11:10 D. Meager rushed up the middle for 16 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 37 10:57 D. Meager incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, UNT 37 10:52 UNT committed 5 yard penalty
2nd-15, UNT 32 10:32 D. Meager incomplete pass to the right
3rd-15, UNT 32 10:26 D. Meager passed to C. Fitzgerald to the left for 5 yard gain
4th-10, UNT 37 10:26 T. Spencer punt. R. Smith returned punt for 3 yards. OKLA committed 10 yard penalty

North Texas managed 13 yards on their second possession giving them 20 total offensive yards on their first two possessions. The good news is that the UNT defense would force to Sooners to punt on their third possession of the game holding Oklahoma’s offense to a three and out. After a 7 yard punt return North Texas would start out at their own 48 yard line which was by far their best start of the day. Unfortunately for them they would be heading backwards on this drive. The speed and pressure of Oklahoma’s defense along with the crowd noise would put UNT in a 15 yard hole from the start.

3 plays, -26 yards, TOP 1:49
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 48 8:06 UNT committed 10 yard penalty
1st-20, UNT 38 8:04 UNT committed 5 yard penalty
1st-25, UNT 33 8:04 J. Thomas rushed up the middle for 1 yard loss
2nd-26, UNT 32 7:31 Meager,Daniel sacked for loss of 10 yards (Nic Harris). D. Meager fumbled. T. Bailey recovered fumble
4th-10, UNT 22 6:36 T. Spencer punt. R. Smith returned punt for 3 yards. OKLA committed 15 yard penalty

In all North Texas would lose 26 yards to penalties and backwards plays. After Oklahoma suffered a few mental breakdowns of their own they would move a total of 74 yards for another touchdown and a 21-0 lead. Hartley’s kick-off would be a touchback giving the Mean Green a first and ten from their own 20.

4 plays, 20 yards, TOP 1:32
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 20 3:49 D. Meager passed to K. Washington down the middle for 12 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 32 3:36 J. Thomas rushed to the left for 7 yard gain
2nd-3, UNT 39 3:13 D. Meager rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
3rd-1, UNT 41 2:41 D. Meager incomplete pass to the right
4th-1, UNT 41 2:25 T. Spencer punt, no return

North Texas’s inability to run the ball is becoming more and more evident causing them to struggle with the pass against an aggressive Sooner defense. However, the Sooners were about to drop a gift to UNT in the form of a Jermaine Gresham fumble setting them up within scoring distance at Oklahoma’s 20.

4 plays, -9 yards, TOP 0:47
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, OU 20 2:09 J. Thomas rushed to the right for 3 yard gain
2nd-7, OU 17 2:03 D. Meager incomplete pass down the middle
3rd-7, OU 17 1:59 D. Meager sacked for 12 yard loss (John Williams)
4th-19, OU 29 1:30 D. Meager incomplete pass to the left

John Williams’ sack pushed North Texas out of field goal range forcing the Eagles to go for it on 4th and 19. The attempt failed and the Sooners were carrying a shutout going into the second quarter. Following the failed 4th down conversion Oklahoma completed a 71 yard drive with DeMarco Murray’s 2 yard touchdown run. The drive would take us into the second quarter and give Oklahoma a 28-0 lead.

Following a 14 yard kick-off return North Texas would try again to get their offense going, this time starting from their own 16.

6 plays, 23 yards, TOP 2:33
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 16 11:33 D. Meager passed to B. Jackson to the right for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, UNT 21 11:00 D. Meager passed to B. Jackson down the middle for 11 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 32 10:40 D. Meager passed to C. Fitzgerald to the left for 13 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 45 10:33 J. Thomas rushed up the middle for no gain
2nd-10, UNT 45 10:03 D. Meager sacked for 6 yard loss (Auston English)
3rd-16, UNT 39 9:16 D. Meager incomplete pass to the right
4th-16, UNT 39 9:09 T. Spencer punt, no return

Frustration is starting to build on the North Texas bench because their offense can’t find a weakness in the Oklahoma defense and therefore doesn’t have the ability to move the ball consistently. Across the field the buzz is growing about how good the Oklahoma offense could actually be this year. Sam Bradford is about to set the Sooner Nation on fire with a 64 yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Kelly which would put the Sooners up 35-0.

Once again Hartley’s kick-off would go for a touchback and the UNT offense a three and out.

3 plays, 7 yards, TOP 1:44
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 20 7:49 D. Meager passed to M. Mosely to the left for 1 yard loss
2nd-11, UNT 19 7:36 D. Meager rushed up the middle for 7 yard loss
3rd-18, UNT 12 7:04 D. Meager passed to B. Stickler down the middle for 14 yard gain
4th-4, UNT 26 6:30 T. Spencer punt. D. Franks returned punt for 8 yards

The Sooners are scoring just about as frequently as the Mean Green are punting. On their next possession Oklahoma went 69 yards to pay dirt putting them up 42-0.

A penalty on the kick-off return put UNT on their own 7 yard line to start their next drive. It would only last 5 plays.

4 plays, 8 yards, TOP 1:18
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 7 2:57 D. Meager passed to C. Fitzgerald to the left for 12 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 19 2:42 UNT committed 14 yard penalty
2nd-24, UNT 5 2:39 D. Meager passed to B. Jackson to the right for 15 yard gain
3rd-9, UNT 20 2:12 D. Meager passed to M. Mosely to the left for 6 yard loss
4th-15, UNT 14 1:55 T. Spencer punt. R. Smith returned punt for 25 yards

Reggie Smith’s 25 yard punt return help set up Oklahoma’s 3 play scoring drive that would advance the score to 49-0 before the half. Following the kick-off North Texas would just run out the clock and take it to the locker room.

3 plays, 13 yards, TOP 0:54
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT16 0:54 M. Mosely rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
2nd-7, UNT19 0:30 D. Meager passed to C. Fitzgerald to the left for 7 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 26 0:23 D. Meager rushed to the right for 3 yard gain

To start the 2nd half North Texas returned the kick-off to the 12 yard line setting up their first drive of the second half and just when you thought things couldn’t get worse…

3 plays, 6 yards, TOP 0:46
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 12 14:54 D. Meager incomplete pass down the middle
2nd-10, UNT 12 14:40 D. Meager passed to B. Jackson down the middle for 7 yard gain
3rd-3, UNT 19 14:40 L. Holmes intercepted D. Meager for 6 yards
The interception would lead to another OU touchdown and a 56-0 Sooner lead. North Texas’ kick-off return would place the ball at their own 12 yard line,
6 plays, 27 yards, TOP 2:18
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 12 13:38 M. Mosely rushed to the right for 11 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 22 13:24 D. Meager passed to B. Jackson to the right for 6 yard gain
2nd-4, UNT 28 12:40 D. Meager rushed to the right for 9 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 37 12:25 D. Meager rushed to the right for 1 yard gain
2nd-9, UNT 38 11:54 D. Meager incomplete pass to the right
3rd-9, UNT 38 11:41 D. Meager incomplete pass to the right
4th-9, UNT 38 11:32 T. Spencer punt. R. Smith returned punt for 5 yards

Bob Stoops would start calling off the dogs at this point. Sam Bradford would be relieved by Joey Halzle on Oklahoma’s next possession and defensive starters would start taking the rest of the night off as well. Jermaine Gresham’s illegal block in the back would put the Sooners back 15 yards and Halzle’s third down pass to Adron Tennell would come up a yard short resulting in the Sooners punting. New UNT quarterback Giovanni Vizza would have to start his first possession from his own 8 yard line then a false start penalty on first down would push them back to the 4 but it would end in North Texas getting on the board thanks mostly to an OU fumble and penalty.

UNT committed 5 yard penalty
11 plays, 46 yards, TOP 3:41
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 8 9:10 UNT committed 4 yard penalty
1st-14, UNT 4 8:50 G. Vizza rushed to the right for 2 yard gain
2nd-12, UNT 6 8:50 G. Vizza rushed to the left for no gain
3rd-12, UNT 6 7:40 G. Vizza incomplete pass to the left
4th-12, UNT 6 7:35 T. Spencer punt. D. Franks returned punt for no gain. D. Franks fumbled. E. Roman recovered fumble
1st-10, UNT 41 7:25 G. Vizza incomplete pass to the right
2nd-10, UNT 41 7:19 G. Vizza incomplete pass to the right
3rd-10, UNT 41 7:13 G. Vizza passed to B. Jackson down the middle for 28 yard gain
1st-10, OKLA 31 6:50 G. Vizza passed to B. Jackson down the middle for 13 yard gain. OKLA committed 9 yard penalty
1st-9, OKLA 9 6:50 G. Vizza rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
2nd-7, OKLA 7 5:41 G. Vizza incomplete pass to the left
3rd-7, OKLA 7 5:38
3rd-12, OKLA 12 5:18 G. Vizza incomplete pass to the right
4th-12, OKLA 12 5:12 T. Moreland kicked a 29-yard field goal

Oklahoma’s next drive would end in another punt resulting in UNT starting from their own 11. Why the Vizza to quarterback switch appears to be a good move for North Texas Nic Harris is about to make him pay for a mistake.

3 plays, 1 yard, TOP 1:22
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT11 1:52 M. Mosely rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
2nd-10, UNT 11 1:52 M. Mosely rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
3rd-9, UNT 12 1:09 N. Harris intercepted G. Vizza for 25 yard touchdown

Following Harris’ touchdown the UNT offense would take the field again. Starting at their own 20 Vizza was going to lead the Mean Green to pay dirt for the only time in the game.

5 plays, 80 yards, 1:29
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT20 0:59 G. Vizza rushed to the right for 9 yard gain
2nd-1, UNT 29 0:30 M. Mosely rushed to the right for 1 yard loss
3rd-2, UNT 28 0:30 G. Vizza rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
Start of the 4th Quarter
1st-10, UNT 31 15:00 G. Vizza rushed up the middle for no gain
2nd-10, UNT 31 14:38 G. Vizza passed to C. Fitzgerald to the left for 69 yard touchdown. T. Moreland made PAT

Leading 63-10 Oklahoma tried to run some time and clock but they ended up running up the score. With their fourth and fifth string running backs carrying the load Oklahoma only needed four plays to score again and make the score 70-10. Following a kick-off return to the 21 Vizza was about to make another mistake that would cost UNT more points.

2 plays, 14 yards, TOP 0:36
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 21 12:57 G. Vizza passed to C. Fitzgerald down the middle for 14 yard gain
1st-10, UNT 35 12:33 L. Robinson intercepted G. Vizza for 21 yards

Oklahoma would run some more clock and score another touchdown to stretch the lead to 77-10. On the drive, that began at the UNT 18 Jacob Gutierrez would become the 6th Sooner to score a touchdown on the night. You would think that North Texas would be finished giving away points but after running the kickoff back to their own 14 UNT was going to surrender one more time to the Oklahoma defense.

2 plays, -14 yards, TOP 1:05
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT 14 10:39 D. Cox rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
2nd-9, UNT 15 10:00 UNT committed 5 yard penalty
2nd-14, UNT 10 9:38 G. Vizza sacked for 10 yard loss.(Alan Davis) Safety

Oklahoma would run nearly five minutes off the clock following the safety giving UNT one last opportunity to do something. Waiving the white flag of surrender they chose to run the ball up the middle on three consecutive plays.

3 plays, 7 yards, TOP 2:15
Down/Dist, Yrd. Line Time Play Result
1st-10, UNT19 3:45 C. Montgomery rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain
2nd-8, UNT 22 3:45 C. Montgomery rushed up the middle for 2 yard gain
3rd-6, UNT 24 3:45 C. Montgomery rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
4th-3, UNT 27 1:38 T. Spencer punt. D. Franks returned punt for no gain

Oklahoma would simply just kneel out the clock following the final UNT punt and the Sooners would leave the field with a 79-10 season opening victory with the defense contributing 16 points.