DALLAS — Oklahoma’s defense was short-handed Saturday against Texas. The injury to linebacker Corey Nelson was no secret. Freshman linebacker Dominique Alexander filled in with 19 tackles, matching the freshman tackle record set by Travis Lewis in 2008.
“First start, OU-Texas, of course I’m the freshman on the field on defense and I was replacing Corey. They thought I was going to be a weak link on the field so they tried to attack me,” Alexander said.
How much the absence of Nelson affected OU’s defense is debatable. There’s no doubt OU missed sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Phillips, who sat for the second straight game due to an undisclosed injury.
Most of Texas’ 255 rushing yards came between the tackles, and Texas quarterback Case McCoy had a relatively clean pocket to throw in all day. Defensive tackles Jordan Wade and Torrea Peterson combined for just three tackles.
“Whoever’s out there, we expect them to play at a high level,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “They’ll get better the more they play. That’s part of the process. But you’ve got to play and you’ve got to play well.”
Not his call: OU quarterback Blake Bell was asked several times why he was limited to only three rushing attempts Saturday. He averaged 10.3 in the three games leading up to the Red River Rivalry.
OU coach Bob Stoops said that was the plan OU co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell came up with. Bell said he runs what is called.
“As a quarterback you’re gonna run the offense and whatever is called. Coach Heupel and Coach Norvell call the plays,” he said. “Whatever they call is what we’re gonna run and execute as best we can.”
Overconfident? OU entered the game as a two-touchdown favorite, but Stoops didn’t think his team was overconfident Saturday.