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Halftime: Oklahoma leads Baylor 20-13 in Unexpected Defensive Struggle?

The Baylor offense went four straight possessions without points, and the Bears trail by 7 at the half against Oklahoma.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Between the pouring rain, multiple penalties on both sides, and a pitched defensive battle developing where one was definitely NOT expected, the first half didn't go anywhere close to the way we wanted.  But the Bears get the ball out of halftime after kicking off to start the game, and we're down just 7 points.

I'll give the Sooners a lot of credit for their defensive performance in that half.  After we stopped them coming off the opening kick and then scored on our first drive, OU buckled down against the run and utilized the plan many expected to try to force Jarrett Stidham to beat them.  In response, Baylor seemed largely unwilling to let him try, instead turning (somewhat strangely) on Devin Chafin out of the I-formation in back-to-back drives that yielded no points.

On the other side, our defense has actually played pretty well, although it definitely looks like OU found something in their last drive with the POP passes.  That outcome is particularly distressing because those plays are designed to force linebackers to make difficult choices ... and our linebackers are not great.

So far, the best thing OU has done is limit Corey Coleman, who has just 2 catches for 14 yards so far in this game and has faced double and sometime triple teams on virtually every play.

If Baylor is going to get the offense going, it has to open things up for Stidham down the field.  Our hesitance to do so is absolutely killing us so far in that it makes us predictable.  You can, for example, run on first down only so many times in a row before your opponent figures out that's what you're going to do.  If we're going to stop OU consistently on defense, we need to get back to the pass rush with which we started the game and stop the run on first down.  If we can also create another turnover or two, that would surely help.

Game Stats:

1st Downs 15 11
3rd down efficiency 4-7 6-10
4th down efficiency 0-0 0-0
Total Yards 240 227
Passing 182 103
Comp-Att 15-20 9-13
Yards per pass 9.6 7.9
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Rushing 58 124
Rushing Attempts 22 27
Yards per rush 2.6 4.6
Penalties 6-63 5-51
Turnovers 1 1
Fumbles lost 0 1
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Possession 15:43 14:17