The Norman Transcript


November 14, 2012

Sooners struggling to stop third down conversions

NORMAN — About 150 plays make up the average football game. Ask any player or coach, however, and it’s the 30 or so that happen on third down that dictate success or failure.

Drives flourish or flounder based on what happens on those plays.

“Yeah, it’s money down. It’s a lot more than just third down. Depends on what down and distance is; you kind of already know what’s coming sometimes. It’s the down that kind of makes or breaks the drive,” OU defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland said. “You stop it right there and the offense gets the ball, or you can give them another shot to try to score.”

The Sooners have been better this season that last season in just about every measurable defensive category. They’re giving up about 50 yards less per game, about 2.5 fewer points and 70 fewer passing yards.

Still, opponents are converting third downs at a higher rate. In last Saturday’s 42-34 victory over Baylor, the Bears converted 11 of 20. It marked the fourth time in nine games an OU opponent has converted at least 50 percent of its third downs.

Overall, Sooner opponents are converting third downs at a 41.5 percent success rate. The only Big 12 defenses having a worse time of it are Baylor (58.94), West Virginia (46.51) and Iowa State (41.82).

The struggles were obvious in OU’s loss to Kansas State. The Wildcats were 7-for-14 converting third downs when they stunned the Sooners 24-19 on Sept. 22.

Texas Tech went 9-for-15, yet the Sooners rolled to a 41-20 victory. Kansas went 12-for-24 on third down, but OU rolled to a 52-7 victory.

Mike Stoops blames himself for third-down issues last Saturday

“The other night the run hurt us on third down … They weren’t going to throw it on third down. I should have been smarter than that. They weren’t throwing it. They were running it on third-and-10 when they’re down by 16,” he said. “Those are things that you’ve got to adjust to, and we were slow in adjusting in some ways.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • No new updates into police probe of Norman assault incident

    There were no updates in the Norman Police investigation into the incident that left a female University of Oklahoma student with multiple facial fractures on Saturday and Sooner freshman running back Joe Mixon as the focus of the probe....

    July 27, 2014

  • Furyk take three shot lead at the Canadian Open

    Associated Press MONTREAL — Jim Furyk moved into position for his third Canadian Open victory, shooting a 5-under 65 on Saturday to take a three-stroke lead at Royal Montreal....

    July 27, 2014

  • Pair from U.S. will play for Junior title

    THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Davis Riley outlasted Sam Horsfield on the 21st hole Friday in the U.S. Junior Amateur to set up an all-American final against William Zalatoris....

    July 27, 2014

  • Gordon an Indy threat in 20 years at the Brickyard

    INDIANAPOLIS — The reminders that Jeff Gordon won here 20 years ago plaster Indianapolis Motor Speedway....

    July 27, 2014

  • Dillon races to first career Nationwide win

    INDIANAPOLIS — For a first time winner, Ty Dillon had the Brickyard’s winning tradition down as cold as the celebratory beer he chugged outside his car. “We get to kiss the bricks, baby!” he radioed as he crossed the finish line....

    July 27, 2014

  • Zac Selmon joins UNC as associate AD

    Zac Selmon, an associate director of athletic development with the Sooner Club since 2012, has been hired by North Carolina as an associate athletic director and special assistant to Tar Heel athletics director Bubba Cunningham....

    July 28, 2014

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to Tour victory

    PARIS — Vincenzo Nibali put his lungs and legs to work one last time, marching up to the winner’s podium of the Tour de France and sighing deeply before the Italian anthem echoed over the Champs-Elysees....

    July 28, 2014

  • Jeff Gordon wins at Indianapolis for record fifth time

    INDIANAPOLIS — With a tinge of gray hair at his temples, his hat on backward and his two young children by his side, Jeff Gordon celebrated as if he was 23 years old again. Gordon won a NASCAR-record fifth Brickyard 400 on Sunday, eight ...

    July 28, 2014

  • Scott says he will coach Lakers

    LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers have waited nearly three months to hire a new coach, and they’re apparently making Byron Scott wait a few more days....

    July 28, 2014

  • BoSox snap Rays’ streak

    ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer, and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay 3-2 Sunday to end a five-game losing streak and stop the Rays’ longest winning streak in 10 years at nine games....

    July 28, 2014