Texas was the last NCAA Division I-A team to commit a turnover this season (a deflected pass against Houston). And while it wasnt the difference-maker in this years contest, QB Chris Simms tossed three costly picks against Oklahoma.
"Youve got to force some turnovers because you cant let (Texas Tech) keep the ball," Brown said of the Big 12s best passing offense (386.2 ypg, NCAA No. 3) and leagues second-best scoring offense (38.6 ppg NCAA No. 6). "Weve done a good job of forcing turnovers."
The Longhorns have combined for 18 interceptions (NCAA No. 3) by eight different players. The defense has forced 18 fumbles, recovering seven. On the year, the offense has converted those 25 turnovers into 82 points. More impressively, the stingy Texas defense has held opponents to just 13 points off of 16 turnovers (10 interceptions, 6 fumbles) this season.
"The defense is playing well with sudden change," Brown added.
The defense can also light up the scoreboard. Texas has tallied 11 interception returns for touchdowns in the last 41 games, a dramatic turnaround from the stretch of 56 games (1995-99) when the defense failed to return a pick for a score.
With the way Tech spreads the field and its QB Kliff Kingsbury slings the ball, nearly everyone on the defense has a chance Saturday to produce a momentum-changing, crowd-silencing turnover. A fourth-down stop counts as a turnover against any team, but especially against Tech (21-of-30 in fourth down conversions; Texas is 7-of-10 in fourth down conversions).
"Everything is four-downs with them," Brown said. "When you go there, you have to have the mentality that its four-down territory every time you cross the 50."
The defense has been amazing at stuffing fourth down plays this season. One recalls fourth down stops against Iowa State when the game was still close, and especially those fourth down stops at Nebraska.
"The three stops we had at Nebraska on fourth down were the same as turnovers," Brown said. "That stopped the drive and took our defense off the field."