The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

October 7, 2013

OU win over TCU comes with cost: the loss of Nelson

NORMAN — Defense carried Okla­homa to its 20-17 victory over TCU Saturday night, but the defense paid a price for it.

OU coach Bob Stoops confirmed Sunday that senior linebacker Corey Nel­son suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the second half. He will have surgery Tues­day and will likely miss the rest of the season.

Losing Nelson is a mas­sive
wallop for the 12th­ranked Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12).

The senior made 27 tack­les (13 solo), along with a 24­yard interception return TD, four pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and a sack through the first five games of the year.

However, Nelson’s pro­duction went beyond tack­les. He was the emotional leader of the defense. Replacing that aspect of what he brought to the table is going to be very difficult.

TCU scored both of its touchdowns after Nelson went to the bench Saturday night.

True freshman Dominique Alexander went in for Nelson. He’s made 10 tackles this season and has been the Sooners’ weakside linebacker when they have played four linebackers.

None of OU’s coaches spoke to reporters Sunday. Saturday night, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops
obviously felt good about the way his group, which leads the Big 12 Conference in scoring defense at 13.0 points per game, has played through five games.

“I think that’s the thing that jumps out at me is that there are a lot of guys play­ing well, and I don’t think you can really pinpoint one guy. I just think it’s a collec­tive effort, and when you have collective efforts, I think that produces promis­ing results,” he said. “That to me seems to be the key to our success right now. We’ve got three or four impact players, but the rest of our guys are playing impact football. We don’t have any glaring weakness­es, and that’s a good place to be.”

But Nelson was one of those impact players. Get­ting him a bigger role with­in the defense had been a
goal since the 2012 season ended.

Nelson did not come off the field whether OU was facing an offense with five wide receivers or two tight ends and three running backs.

What OU does in his absence will be something it figures out as it crafts the game plan for what comes next: the Red River Rivalry against Texas (3-2, 2-0) at 11 a.m., Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Most years, the OU-Texas game dominates the Big 12 conversation because the winner emerges as a legitimate national title con­tender.

After two early losses, the Longhorns have been rele­gate to below that status. OU is undefeated, but needing impressive wins to build its resume.

One thing OU has shown is it can win low-scoring games. From 2008-2012, OU didn’t win a single game when it scored less than 23 points.

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