Big XII Championship Review

Does Oklahoma
Spread the love

It was one of the best Big XII championship games in many years.  This was a battle potentially for the number four seed in the CFB playoffs.  Anyone who says there’s no defense in the Big XII didn’t watch these two teams go at it.  Oklahoma just made a few more big defensive plays than Baylor. Oklahoma’s defense took over in the overtime period as we look at the Big XII Championship review.

Big XII Championship Review

First Half

The Sooners dominated the first quarter building a 10-0 lead.  Baylor responded with 13-second quarter points, largely due to two Jalen Hurts turnovers.  The Sooners helped the Bears with five first-half penalties.  The Sooners had an opportunity to break the game open in the first half dominated by the Oklahoma defense.  Oklahoma turnovers and mistakes helped Baylor to a 13-10 halftime advantage.

Second Half

The Sooners defense took control in the third quarter, while the offense put up 10 points to take a 20-13 lead after three quarters.  Oklahoma added a 24-yard field goal with 10:31 remaining.  It seemed like Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was very conservative at times.  Possibly a lack of trust in Hurts’ inability to take care of the ball.  Hurts has had at least two turnovers in three of the Sooners last four games.  Baylor was able to manage two big pass plays to pull even in regulation.  Overtime was all Oklahoma.  The Sooners scored on a Rhamondre Stevenson five-yard touchdown run.  The Sooners defense held the Bears -10 yards on four overtime snaps.

Number 10 for Oklahoma

Oklahoma won its 10th conference championship game, the only school to accomplish that.  The Sooners won its fifth consecutive conference championship.  This championship was a little different than the recent titles.  In recent years Oklahoma has depended on its offense to outscore teams.  The Sooners defense dominated this game.  The Bears only managed eight first downs and 35 yards rushing.  Baylor totaled 230 yards through the air, but 160 of those yards came on two plays.  The Sooners had 15 tackles for losses and six quarterback sacks.

As previously stated, the Sooners had two turnovers and five penalties in the first half.  The Sooners had only one penalty and zero turnovers after halftime.

Oklahoma had another great game from their special teams unit.  Reeves Mundschau had a great game punting the ball.  Mundschau punted six times for a 41.2-yard average, with three punts inside the 20.  Gabe Brkic continued to be perfect on the season.  Brkic has not missed a PAT all year and has made 18-18 on field goals.

The Final Word

In conclusion, this was a welcome change for Sooner fans.  The defense has played shutdown football for three and a half games.  It’s obvious that first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch has been a great addition to the Sooners coaching staff.  The Sooners went from 101 in total defense last year to 26th this year.  Grinch should be the Broyles Award winner for the top assistant coach in the country.

Has the Hurts experiment been a success?  Did Oklahoma win because of Hurts or in spite of him?  Clearly, Hurts has not played well down the stretch.  He has not done a good job of hitting open receivers downfield. Hurts has done an abysmal job of protecting the ball in the last four games with seven turnovers.  Should Oklahoma get the fourth playoff spot, Hurts will need to make better decisions with the ball to compete in the playoffs.

With all of this being said, with the emergence of the defense, the Sooners can compete with any of the teams that will be in the playoffs.  The offense will need to complement the defense and play error-free football.

Embed from Getty Images