MORGANTOWN, W.V. — The statistics sheet was just below Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, but he fought the temptation to look down. He knew how inept his unit played in Saturday night’s 50-49 victory over West Virginia. Seeing the final numbers would only add another lash on a night the Sooners took a lot of them.
“Do I have to look at the them?” he said. “I don’t want to see them.”
If he ever glimpsed down, he was going to see the Sooners gave up 778 yards of total offense — the most in the school’s history. His eyes were going to pick up that West Virginia’s Tavon Austin rushed for 344 yards and averaged 16.4 yards per carry. He would see the Sooners allowed six touchdowns drives that were more than 75 yards.
Stoops was going to see that the Sooners improved to 8-2 and 6-1 in the Big 12 and did it in spite of their defense.
“Tough night in a lot of ways,” he said. “Very disappointed in our containment of the football and our ability to tackle in space and come up with a play virtually the whole second half. The second half was a fiasco.”
It was in every sense. The Mountaineers (5-5, 2-5 Big 12) only punted three times all night, and none of them were in the second half.
In seven second-half possessions, OU gave up five touchdowns, forced a turnover on downs late in the third quarter and managed to bat down a Hail Mary pass from West Virginia that was two yards short of the end zone on the final play. The rest was like watching a train wreck at full speed over and over again.
But OU’s defense cannot simply remove the memory of what happened Saturday night. The 14th-ranked Sooners face No. 22 Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.