Welcome back to yet another edition of our 2020 Countdown to Kickoff series! We’ve finally reached the 30 day milestone before the Oklahoma Sooners return to the gridiron. Speaking of the number 30, I want to use this opportunity to identify a rather distinct line of demarcation that could spell the difference between standing pat and winning it all.
With the highly productive, highly efficient nature of Lincoln Riley’s machine-like offense, it realistically shouldn’t take an all-world level defense to capture a win in the College Football Playoff. Consistently holding the competition under the 30-point threshold isn’t asking for a lot, and if accomplished, it would do wonders for the team and the program as a whole.
Since the start of the 2015 season, Oklahoma is 41-1 (including 38 straight wins) when holding its opponent to 30 points or less. The last time the Sooners lost a game while surrendering fewer than 30 points was in ‘15, in a 24-17 loss to the Texas Longhorns. Conversely, OU is 18-9 over that same span of time when giving up more than 30 points.
Of course, as is the case with any kind of extensive win streak, there have been a few close-calls where the defense absolutely needed to keep the opponent from eclipsing the 30-point threshold or else face losing the game outright. There is perhaps no better example of this than the 2015 contest against the TCU Horned Frogs. As Gary Patterson’s squad rallied for a score in the final minute, they found themselves down one point with a decision to make. Thankfully, veteran OU safety Steven Parker was there to render said point moot.
In 2019, the OU defense allowed 27.3 points per game — including the 63 spot Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers dropped in the Peach Bowl semifinal. While that’s about a touchdown’s worth of improvement from 2018’s 33.3 defensive ppg allowance, it’s still a glaring statistic second-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch wants to continue seeing decrease.
Speaking of all this 30 points talk, go ahead and check out the highlights from last year’s Big 12 Championship Game between Oklahoma and the Baylor Bears. OU not only held BU to under 30 points in this overtime thriller, 30 is exactly what the Sooners scored themselves.
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