Units Complement Each Other

The Sooners haven't quite developed the killer instinct, but they have grasped the idea of something else.

They are playing together and winning contests as one, as the offense and defense have picked each other up throughout the first three games.

"It's a team in my eyes," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "I'm really pleased that the team responded together like they did to win against a good football team [in Air Force]."

No doubt, each side of the ball had its problems in last Saturday's narrow 27-24 win over the Air Force Falcons.

The offense struggled big time in the first half, mustering virtually nothing after the first drive of the game until halftime, while the defense held the Academy to only three points.

"In the first half, the defense really complemented the offense, played great," Stoops said. "And even though offensively we had a great drive to start with, we kind of sputtered after that. But we still go into halftime winning 10-3."

In the second half, it was a role reversal.

"Then, the second half we come out and the defense isn't so sharp or they're executing better than us, but the offense complements the defense in the second half by getting a couple of big drives," Stoops said.

In the second half, the Sooner offense had scoring drives of 31, 41 and 76 yards, but perhaps the biggest drive of the game didn't feature points, but rather it involved OU just getting two necessary first downs to run out the clock and avoid putting the defense in a must-hold situation.

"Our offense bailed us out when we needed to," said linebacker Travis Lewis. "Defense was hot in the first half. You know, offense was hot in the second half, so, you know, we kind of played as a team and we took our strikes, but all in all we got the win."

Running back DeMarco Murray said the offense kind of "owed" it to the defense after previous weeks.

"We knew we had to help the defense," Murray said. "You know, they helped us last game, and, you know, we have to help each other out."

The fact of the matter, though, is if one side of the ball is off and the other is on, it gives the Sooners a chance to win every night out, regardless of the situation.

"Well, a close game where there's no sense of panic, guys stuck in there together as a team, complemented each other well when we needed to, you know," said defensive coordinator Brent Venables. "And that's the biggest thing."

Most likely, both units will have to play up to their potential to get a solid road victory Saturday at Cincinnati, but the positive for now is that the offense and defense have had a sense of urgency when the time has arrived.

They have had each others' backs.

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