Oklahoma Sooners posted standout defense despite playing juggernaut offenses

Zack Sanchez laughs off the idea that the Big 12 Conference "doesn't play defense."

Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez laughed at the notion.

“To say that this conference doesn’t play defense is just stupid,” he said.

The Sooners, who earned the No. 4 seed in the College Football Playoff and will face Clemson in the Orange Bowl, ranked at the top of the Big 12 Conference in all four major defensive categories. They ranked in the top 50 in the nation in rushing, passing and total defense while finishing 21st in the country in scoring defense.

All of this came against what Sanchez called “the Steph Currys or LeBron Jameses of offenses.”

“They can say what they want about the conference, but when you’ve got I don’t know how many of the top offenses in the country out of one conference,” Sanchez said “. . .  So, it’s not about stopping them, it’s about slowing them down. They’re going to get their yardage, they’re going to get their points.”

Sanchez said earlier this season that people who make the statement that the Big 12 doesn’t play defense could also say that other conferences don’t play offense.  The top three offenses in the nation are playing in the Big 12 and there are four of the top seven offenses in the conference. More than half of the Big 12 offenses rank in the top-30 of the country.

“We go through offenses that other teams won’t face all year,” Sanchez said. “I just think it makes us better for end-of-the-year games like this that we’re going to face. So we’re not new to anything that we see. I think it helps out a lot. But that whole perception, I think, is just crazy. If you line up the offensive numbers in this conference to other conferences: Who are those (other) defenses really playing? That’s just my opinion on it. People can say what they want.”

Clemson faced just one team in the top-20 compared to five for Oklahoma.

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