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Sunday, November 25, 2012
3 Up, 3 Down: OU 51, OSU 48

By Brandon Chatmon

Thoughts from Oklahoma's 51-48 overtime win over Oklahoma State on Saturday:

THREE UP

1. OU's four-receiver package: Kenny Stills, Justin Brown, Jalen Saunders and Sterling Shepard are quickly becoming the Big 12's scariest personnel grouping. It's impossible to double cover all four receivers and they each have proven they can make plays against one-on-one coverage. Defenses simply don't have an answer for the formation and Landry Jones has been stellar at finding the correct mismatch and taking advantage of it.

2. Landry Jones: He'll make you throw your remote at your television set. Then he'll come back and lead his team for a game-tying touchdown like he did against the Cowboys. For the second straight week, Jones reached the 500-yard mark through the air. As OU's four-receiver package has emerged, Jones has done a great job making "the open receiver" his favorite target.

He's probably playing the best football of his career in crimson and cream.

3. Tempo: OU ran 103 plays against Oklahoma State. There's a reason the Sooners went right to the ground game in overtime. The Pokes were tired and it showed as OU used a 7-yard run by Trey Millard followed by Brennan Clay's 18-yard touchdown run to put Bedlam in the win column for the team from Norman, Okla. OU's tempo played a huge role wearing down the defense which helped on the game-tying drive and in overtime.

THREE DOWN

1. OU run defense: Nobody ran for 344 yards on the ground against the Sooners this week. So, that's good news. Yet, that is about the only good news for OU's run defense in the past three weeks. OSU ran for 225 yards on 41 carries, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. When we looked at this three-game stretch against Baylor, West Virginia and OSU for the Sooners, run defense was the least of the concerns. All three teams run roughshod over OU.

Simply put, the Sooners need to find a answer for spread offenses that can spread you out then run at you. Because they haven't had any thus far.

2. Ball protection: OU fumbled twice and Jones had one interception against the Cowboys. Championship-level teams tend to average one turnover per game (roughly 13 per season). OU has 17 turnovers with one game left and have a -3 turnover margin this season. Worst yet, its turnover margin in November is -4, meaning it hasn't improved in the category as the year progressed.

3. OU's running game: With Clay and Millard put the game away on the ground, OU struggled to run the ball against OSU. Clay was the Sooners leading rusher with 13 carries for 59 yards including the 18-yard score. The Sooners had 30 carries for 106 yards (3.5 yards per carry).

If the Sooners expect to compete for championships in the future, they must improve their ability to run the football whenever they want to turn to the ground game.