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Tony Jefferson Leads Sooner Defense In Game Saving Performance

Tony Jefferson's big hits against Iowa State were just one aspect of a game saving performance for the Oklahoma defense.

Matthew Holst

Oklahoma's offense got off to an incredibly slow start on Saturday morning in Ames, and had it not been for the Sooner defense keeping Iowa State under wraps then it could have gotten ugly. OU managed two eleven play drives in the first quarter but, despite both of them traveling over 50 yards, neither ended in points. To keep things balanced, Oklahoma's defense held Iowa State to just 15 plays and three punts in the first quarter.

Although both offenses would get in a rhythm in the final thirty minutes of the game, it was the second quarter where this game was won for Oklahoma and lost for Iowa State. The Sooners began the quarter with a 12 play, 90 yard, touchdown drive but then quickly put Iowa State in position to take control of the game. Had it not been for Oklahoma's defense this game could have easily gone the way of Kansas State and Notre Dame.

Trying to add to their 7-0 lead, Landry Jones completely failed to look off Iowa State safety Durrell Givens who intercepted a pass and returned it to the Oklahoma 15. The Sooner defense held ISU to just six yards, forcing the Cyclones to settle for a field goal. Instead of tying the game at 7-7, Iowa State trailed 7-3 which was huge because of what was going to happen next.

Two plays later Givens picked off Jones again, putting the Cyclones in business on the OU side of the field again. Oklahoma's defense held the Cyclones to yet another field goal but, more importantly, they held a sequence of events that easily could have been a fourteen point swing to just a six point swing.

The Sooners held Iowa State to just 290 total yards and 4-of-13 on third downs. They harassed Cyclone quarterback Steele Jantz into three sacks and stalled six of ISU's eleven drives in five plays or less. Safety Tony Jefferson led all Sooner defenders with nine tackles and rocked two Cyclone receivers vicious hits that were absolute kill shots.

Oklahoma's defensive line recorded all three of the Sooners' sacks and the linebackers recorded 10 tackles. At times, the secondary struggled in coverage but, going back to the second quarter, they put OU in position to win.

Iowa State threatened to make it a one score game again the in the fourth quarter but Tony Jefferson came to the rescue one more time. He snagged a Steele Jantz pass out of the air, which allowed Oklahoma to run out the final three and a half minutes of the game. There should be no question in anyone's mind who Oklahoma's defensive player of the game is.