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Sunday, September 28, 2008
Oklahoma's defense set tone from opening possession

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

NORMAN, Okla. -- A hustling Lendy Holmes was determined not to let Aaron Brown score. Even after spotting the TCU kick returner a 10-yard edge in a foot race to the end zone.

"The only thing I was thinking was that I had to get him, I wasn't going to let him beat me down the field," Holmes said. "He wasn't going to get there faster than me."

After stopping Brown at Oklahoma's 15-yeard-line, Holmes' resolve carried over to his defensive mates on the ensuing possession. They limited TCU to -4 yards on the next three plays -- TCU's first offensive possession -- and held them to a field goal. That determination set the tone for a strong effort that helped fuel the Sooners' 35-10 victory.

"He gives up there and lets that guy score, who knows it could have been a different ball game," Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "It was a great teaching tool for our football team on why you don't give up. And it carried over to our team the rest of the night."

The Sooners allowed TCU only one touchdown and twice turned the Horned Frogs away inside their own 11-yard-line. Oklahoma's opportunistic defense contributed four turnovers, two fourth-down stops that forced possession changes on their side of the 50 and three sacks.

In the process, they snuffed out TCU's running game, limiting the Horned Frogs to only 102 yards in the their worst rushing effort of the season.

"It was just a great performance," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "You see all the things they do offensively. To hold them to one touchdown that came in the fourth quarter is a heck of a defensive performance. They were put out there quite often and not always in great position."

Holmes trumped his touchdown-saving tackle with two fumble recoveries, serving as the inspirational leader from the secondary.

"Our mindset is always three-and-out and we know it won't happen all the time," Holmes said. "We just kept playing and turned it up. We knew we had to intercept the ball, rip the ball out, do anything we could do. Which we did tonight."

The defensive effort was a building block as the Sooners prepare for conference play next week. It was a start of what they feel can be an emerging unit as the season progresses.

"We took advantage of our opportunities," Oklahoma defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "To come out here and do that tonight gives us a little boost. We're not going to get big-headed and beat our chests, but it does give us some confidence that we can play some defense. And we showed that tonight."