"It's nice for them to be able to control a game by moving the chains," Cowboys defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said of Perine's emergence and role in the offense.
"I think giving it to him does everything. It helps out their defense and special teams. He gives them a mentality that they can control the game. I've got a lot of respect for him."
Asked about just putting eight in the box and devoting your defense to stop the run, Spencer resisted. He also noted that OU likes balance and they can throw the ball, and now starting quarterback Cody Thomas has proven he can run the ball with his 100-yard rushing game at Texas Tech. A running quarterback always changes the situation for the defense.
"I think you have to mix it up," Spencer said. "He's had some difficult situations to throw in. You can't do the same thing every single time. You've got to mix it up.
"They are hard to tackle and they do a good job schematically. I mean, they're running option football. We have different aspects that we have to defend."
And a huge need to start fast and keep Oklahoma's offense slowed down early and often.