OU tidbits: Sooners searching for turnovers

News and notes from OU's win against Tech and how it could impact rest of the season.

There has been a lot of talk regarding Oklahoma’s defensive inconsistency this season and a lot of the criticism is valid.

Everybody is waiting for the defense that came together at the perfect time last season in OU’s final three games.

What wins and big plays mask is the fact OU’s defense was lit up repeatedly down the stretch, but all is forgiven when turnovers are forced and touchdowns are scored.

That’s not what’s happening right now. OU threw three interceptions against Texas Tech to continue an incredibly disturbing trend. In the last five games, OU has committed 10 turnovers and forced only two.

One of those was a Zack Sanchez interception return for a touchdown in the Texas win, while the other was a Jordan Evans fumble recovery in the win against Iowa State.

OU was plus-eight in the turnover department in its first five games but is now back to being even with 16 turnovers forced and committed.

The Sooners defense has been unable to get momentum going or stop opposing team’s momentum with the turnover.

Though OU has thrown 10 interceptions in the last five games, OU doesn’t have a fumbling problem. The Sooners have only lost two all season and none during the five-game stretch.

Ripkowski an answer vs. Tech

Three years ago OU’s short yardage answer was the BellDozer with Blake Bell. OU tossed in another wrinkle against Texas Tech with fullback Aaron Ripkowski getting the first three carries of his career.

It worked every single time as Ripkowski had four runs with three of them resulting in a first down and the other a touchdown.

“It’s just something with his power and giving him the ball in some of those short yardage situations where we haven’t been as effective, he gets the ball quicker up there,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.

OU has converted 43 percent of its third downs this season, but the Sooners converted at a 66 percent clip, going 10 of 15 against the Red Raiders.

The forgotten Thomas

A lot of the focus went toward quarterback Cody Thomas making his first start, but it was a huge day for another Thomas as well with cornerback Jordan Thomas in the initial 11 for the first time.

There were a couple of plays where Thomas didn’t do what was necessary or wasn’t where he needed to be, but Stoops was pretty pleased with Thomas’ effort.

“Jordan was great,” Stoops said. “He competed really well, no doubt. Made a mental error in the last play, but he competed really well throughout the day and felt really good about how he played.”

Thomas finished with six solo tackles and one pass breakup. An encouraging sign for OU and Thomas was every time he had a chance to make the tackle, he came through.

Sooners respond…finally

It’s tough for a lot of fans to be excited about a 14-point comeback in the second half against a team like Texas Tech. But for OU, it needed something to ignite a spark.

A 35-point second half is something OU will try to build on going forward into the final two games of the regular season.

“Again, I credit the players’ character,” Stoops said. “I said it, just because you lose a few games doesn’t mean your players have bad character. I think they showed that tonight, today, that even down they were going to continue to play hard and try and execute the right way.”

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