Was Ball State out matched Saturday night? Of course. Do you have to take that fact into account when assessing this defensive performance. Absolutely. However, this defense could have come out and played as flat and poorly as they did last week against Mizzou and fortunately that is not what we saw against Ball State. They were not perfect, but compared to last week they were vastly improved. And there is no doubting who the star of the show (at least on defense) was, one Tony Jefferson.
I mean anytime you can get an INT on three consecutive drives by your opponent, pretty sure you're gonna get a game ball. Credit his teammates, specifically Frank Alexander and R.J. Washington, for deflecting two of the passes he intercepted, but the other was all Jefferson. A beautiful one handed snag as he's falling backwards out of bounds, truly a thing of beauty. His three INTs tied a school record, but amazingly he could have broken the record with a possible fourth INT that he bobbled and couldn't quite hang onto. Some of it was Jefferson just being in the right place at the righ time, but the rest was just his incredible ability and talent.
Despite the stellar play of Jefferson, as I said in the lead in this wasn't a perfect performance by the OU defense. Don't get me wrong, the 214 yards allowed, four turnovers, and keeping them out of the end zone were all great, but there were times early where the defense did not look great. After a 15 play 75 yard drive made it 10-6 OU, I'd venture to guess I wasn't the only unhappy OU fan to be watching/listening to the game. Clearly, given the 62-6 final score, they tightened things up considerably but allowing a 15 play scoring drive to Ball State is somewhat alarming. But that's really just nitpicking on my part.
So here are some quick hitters. (Disclaimer: I had to watch this one at a sports bar, so I didn't and won't have my usual replay/rewatch ability. So I probably didn't catch as much as I normally would).
* Pretty sure Aaron Colvin did not play. I believe Sam Proctor played in his place and don't really remember his name being called all that much. Which is probably a good thing since it likely would have happened due to a blown coverage, which clearly didn't happen.
* It was a little concerning that our front four didn't seem to really get any pressure on the Ball State QB. They got plenty of deflections, but they didn't record a single sack.
* Hopefully they just held Jamell Fleming out since the game was quickly out of hand. It looked like he might have suffered a concussion, which will leave his availability up in the air probably all week. We'll need him next Saturday in Dallas.
* It was fun to see Tom Wort get a massive gift of a fumble recovery and get it into the end zone. I really thought the celebration penalty they called on him was beyond weak and Stoops was livid when he got to the sideline. IMO, it's just stupid for them to expect these kids to take all the emotion out of the game.
* I thought Gabe Lynn played MUCH better than last week. Came up with the biggest hit of the game.
Overall, a good performance against an obviously outmanned opponent but still a performance that Sooner fans needed to see after last week. They will have to be even better and much more disciplined, with all the gimmicky trick plays Texas is sure to run, next Saturday in Dallas. But we've got all week to talk about that, there really is nothing like Texas Week!!!