The Norman Transcript

October 23, 2011

Whaley absence felt, but defense more hampered by injuries

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma played without four starters Saturday night. The only absence that affected the offense was running back Dominique Whaley. He was in uniform, but did not play due to an illness.

The defense took a much bigger hit. Cornerback Jamell Fleming wasn’t in uniform due to a knee injury. Defensive tackle Casey Walker also was in street clothes due to a hand injury he suffered last week against Kansas. Middle linebacker Tom Wort was in uniform, but did not play. OU used sophomore Corey Nelson at middle linebacker. He and weakside linebacker Travis Lewis were the only linebackers the Sooners used most of the night.

Lynn pulled

Gabe Lynn made his first start of the season in place of Fleming. It was a night he probably won’t want to remember. He was pulled from the game after giving up a 48-yard pass. It was the fourth time he’d been burned deep Saturday night.

OU moved safety Aaron Colvin to cornerback and inserted Sam Proctor at safety. The move coincided with the Sooners’ comeback, but too much damage had already been done.

Second-quarter disaster

Texas Tech ran away and hid from OU in the second quarter. The Red Raiders scored 17 points and built a 24-7 halftime lead.

It was easy to blame the defense for what happened. Texas Tech gained 194 yards on 33 plays. But OU’s offense helped to make it all possible. The Sooners ran only 10 plays from scrimmage and failed to gain a first down. Landry Jones was 2-for-7 for 33 yards in the quarter.

Hunnicutt off target

Michael Hunnicutt yanked a 39-yard field goal attempt wide left at the start of the second quarter and missed a 28-yard field goal with 2:52 left in the game by clanking it off the far upright when kicking from the left hash.

The misses dropped Hunnicutt to 11-for-13 on the season. The second quarter miss ended a streak of seven straight conversions for the redshirt freshman. He added a 22-yard field goal late in the third quarter.

Play clocks altered

Whether it had something to do with the storm that delayed the game more than 90 minutes, the usual play clocks were both off Saturday night. Instead, the video boards at Owen Field both had play clocks inserted.

The north video board had the clock inserted in the lower left-hand corner. In the much larger south video board, it was inserted in the space between Oklahoma’s and Texas Tech’s score was displayed on the video board’s right side.

Broyles held in check

Ryan Broyles extended his NCAA career receptions record to 333. However, The 84 receiving yards he picked up were well off his season average. He entered Saturday’s game averaging 135.8 receiving yard per outing.

Turnover battle

For the second straight game, OU was unable to force a turnover. Since accumulating five in a 55-17 rout of Texas Oct. 8, the Sooners are minus-4 in the giveaway department.

Broyles fumbled after a 27-yard catch early in the second quarter. Landry Jones threw his only interception in the third quarter.

Neither Texas Tech, nor Kansas last week, committed a turnover.

John Shinn 366-3536 jshinn@normantranscript.com