Mike Stoops’ return as defensive coordinator has the Sooners near the top nationally in total defense and scoring defense rankings. OU is 14th overall, giving up only 300.2 yards per game, and 20th in scoring defense, yielding 17 points per game. But let’s get out the microscope to take a more magnified view of the Sooners’ first-team defense.
*The first string played the entire game against UTEP in the opener. The Miners scored only on a blocked punt and rolled up 272 yards.
*The first-teamers played through two-and-a-half quarters against Florida A&M and gave up 10 points and 165 total yards.
*The first string played the entire game against Kansas State, yielding 17 points and 154 total yards. The Wildcats scored once on a fumble return against the offense.
*The first string gave up 13 points and 272 yards against Texas Tech through three quarters before taking the day off.
*Texas managed only 150 total yards on the Sooners’ first defensive unit and didn’t score a point. The Longhorns scored on a blocked extra point attempt, an interception early on and put up a couple of garage touchdowns against the Big Red’s reserve defense.
With that in mind, the first-string defense has yielded 8 points per game and 202.6 yards per outing. Alabama leads the nation, giving up 181.2 yards and 7.5 points per game. LSU is second in total defense, allowing 219.6 yards per game. Notre Dame is second in scoring defense allowing 8.67 points per game. The microscope hasn’t focused on the first-team defenses at Bama, LSU and Notre Dame.
But taking a closer look at the Sooners’ first-team defense, it could be the second best in the country.