First downs, slowing Amaro key for OU

October, 28, 2013
10/28/13
10:00
AM ET
Here are five stats that helped define Oklahoma’s 38-30 win over Texas Tech.

[+] EnlargeGabe Lynn
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiGabe Lynn and the Sooners were able to deny Jace Amaro on third down, taking away Texas Tech's safety blanket.
Oklahoma’s yards per play on first down. Quite simply, the Sooners imposed their will on the Red Raiders on first down. OU ran 35 plays for 314 yards on first down, an average of 8.97 yards per play. The Sooners knew if they could have success running the ball on first down they could control the game and that’s exactly what they did with their 26 carries for 169 yards on first-down plays (6.5 yards per carry). Expect OU to break out a similar gameplan when it plays Baylor on Nov. 7.

Blake Bell's efficiency on first down. The Sooners have been successful running the ball throughout the season -- the difference on Saturday was the Sooners' ability to take advantage of opportunities in the air. Bell was 7 of 9 on first-down plays for 145 yards, including his 76-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Saunders. OU’s running success and play-action passes off those runs kept Texas Tech off-balance throughout the game. Bell finished with a raw QBR of 97 (out of 100).

Jace Amaro's two receptions on third down. Texas Tech’s tight end has been his quarterbacks' best friend on third down this season yet the Sooners were able to shut him down in those scenarios on Saturday. He had two receptions for 30 yards on third down against OU after entering the game with 23 third-down receptions, 14 more than any other Red Raider. The Sooners had a plan to make sure he didn’t move the chains, and it worked.

Saunders’ third-down production. The senior made the highlight shows with his 76-yard touchdown reception, yet Saunders’ four receptions for 62 yards on third down may have been more important. Bell repeatedly looked Saunders' way and the Sooners were able to use formations to get him in one-on-one situations they were confident the California native would win, which he did. Basically, Saunders has the potential to be OU’s version of Amaro, a one-on-one nightmare who can be Bell’s safety net on third down.

Points-off-turnover margin. The Sooners won the points-off-turnover battle 14-0. In a game decided by eight points, that’s a significant margin. OU’s defense forced three turnovers, and the Sooners turned two of them into touchdowns. It was a good return to that trend for the Sooners after back-to-back games against Kansas and Texas which saw them lose the POT battle.

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