Saturday, January 1, 2011
Halftime analysis: Oklahoma 20, Connecticut 10
By David Ubben
One big mistake has made this somewhat of a game, but Oklahoma is getting it done on both sides of the ball and could run away with it in the second half.
Turning point: Oklahoma led 14-0 and had the ball near midfield, but Sooners quarterback Landry Jones was intercepted on a pass over the middle of the field by Dwayne Gratz, who returned the pick 46 yards for a touchdown to get the Huskies within seven. This would be a bona fide blowout if not for Jones' mistake.
Stat of the half: Just five yards of penalties have been doled out in the first half. Connecticut was flagged for an illegal substitution in the second quarter that turned a third-and-4 into a third-and-9, which the Huskies couldn't convert.
Stat of the half II: Connecticut's All-American back, Jordan Todman, picked up some momentum on Connecticut's final drive of the half, but he had just 14 yards on his first 11 carries while Oklahoma raced out to its early lead. Outside of a 19-yard run on the final drive, he has 15 yards on 13 carries. That's an impressive effort from Brent Venables' defense.
Best player in the half: Jones. His mistake aside, he's been fantastic. He completed his first 12 passes and finished the half 21 of 27 for 233 yards and a score to James Hanna.
Second guessing: Facing a fourth-and-1 on their opening drive, Connecticut punted the ball. Giving the Sooners the ball instead of trusting Connecticut's biggest strength, it's running game, sends a pretty poor message to your team, Oklahoma and fans on both sides. Of course, the Huskies were stuffed on a fourth-and-inches later in the first half, so maybe coach Randy Edsall knew what he was doing.
What Oklahoma needs to do: Prevent big plays and don't turn the ball over. The Sooners will need to do both to close this one out and produce the blowout everyone expected to see. Another big play early in the second half like Gratz's interception or a long Todman run could set a dangerous tone in the second half for the Sooners.