Oklahoma defense’s redemptive performance finally has Sooners looking like title contenders

first_img“I hope (the committee) sees the Big 12 Champions,” Riley said. “They’ve got a job to do, I get that. We’ve had a job to do as a team, which was to continue to improve throughout the year, trust the things we could and ultimately win a Big 12 championship. We’ve done that.“We will see whatever road it takes us on, but whichever one it is, we will be ready.”Thanks to finally having a defense, he could be right. Despite the efforts of all-timers like Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray behind center, the best the Sooners could do in 2017 and 2018 was win the Big 12 Conference and make it to the Playoff semifinals — but no further.MORE: Big 12 championship highlights, scores, updatesThis Oklahoma team, however, looks decidedly different.On Saturday, while the Sooner offense scrapped for inches, settled for field goals and struggled to hold onto the football against a talented Baylor defense, it was the Oklahoma defense that rose up time after time to get a stop.The final result was a 30-23 overtime victory for the Sooners (12-1) in the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium. It was the Sooners’ fifth consecutive league crown, the longest title streak by a Power 5 team since Alabama in the early 1970s (which can be matched Saturday night by Clemson).Baylor (11-2), a team that averaged 36 points and nearly 450 yards per game this season, managed just two touchdowns, 265 total yards and only eight first downs against an Oklahoma defense that has been reborn out of a coaching makeover, reconstituted in the image of its new coordinator.“Whatever it takes,” Alex Grinch said afterward.Whether that’s tackling a runner by his dreadlocks, forcing six three-and-outs and an overtime stop, punishing three different Baylor quarterbacks, saving a game-winning touchdown with an all-out sprint in the closing minutes or limiting the Bears to 1.2 yards per rush, this Oklahoma defense might be the one element that finally gives the Sooners a fighting chance in the College Football Playoff.“That’s our ‘Speed D,’” said head coach Lincoln Riley, who had to part ways with Mike Stoops — his old boss’s little brother — in the middle of last season before bringing in Grinch from Ohio State. “That’s what we are. We are an effort-based defense. … Our guys have bought in.“I couldn’t be happier with our defense, the way those have played with so much new — we knew it could be done here, and our guys believed it, and our coaches believed it, and we’ve got a pretty good defense here.”The Sooners finished the regular season ranked No. 26 nationally in total defense, yielding just 336 yards per game. Forget analytics, some of which reflect OU’s massive resurgence, some of which do not — just going from 114th in the nation to 26th in the span of 11 months and from 129th nationally (dead last) in pass defense to 22nd this year shows what kind of difference Grinch has made. And that showed up Saturday.Four Baylor pass plays resulted in 221 yards. Baylor’s other 48 plays netted just 44 total yards.Despite paltry offensive production in the first half, the Bears had a 13-10 halftime lead because Jalen Hurts committed two turnovers, and because backup quarterback Gerry Bohanan came in for injured Charlie Brewer and connected on a couple of lob throws into the Sooner secondary.And despite continued struggles to move the football in the second half, Baylor seemed headed for a game-winning touchdown when third-string true freshman quarterback Jacob Zeno completed a 78-yard bomb to Chris Platt with fewer than five minutes to play.But Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown chased Platt down at the Sooner 17, and Oklahoma forced a field goal to force the game into overtime. There, after Oklahoma took a 30-23 lead on Rhamondre Stevenson’s 5-yard touchdown run. Baylor ran four plays — three incomplete passes and a sack — that netted minus-10 yards.“We brought the guys up as we went to overtime, and I told them, ‘This is fitting,’ ” Riley said. “The way we started fall camp was red zone work, and three straight days of it, and it’s fitting to start fall camp and finish the regular season championship game with that kind of overtime period.”“It’s something we’ve been prepared for,” said linebacker Kenneth Murray, who finished with 10 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack. “It’s something that they’ve done a phenomenal job preparing us for.”Brown’s rundown was the play of the game and seems like basic Football 101. But that’s exactly the kind of thing — sheer effort, a 70-yard all-out chase — that has been missing from past Oklahoma defenses, which subverted the efforts of transformative offenses in previous seasons.“Huge. Huge,” said Grinch. “I’ll say it: It shouldn’t happen. It’s a bad play defensively. But it’s everything we talk about as a defense: Find a way — find a way. If that referee doesn’t throw two hands in the air, then we’ve got a shot — to get a takeaway, to hold ‘em to three.“It’s not exactly how you draw it up. Sometimes you gotta overcome Coach Grinch. And in that case, he did. What a great visual for running your tail to the ball and getting the ball carrier down. It was a huge, huge play in the game.”Just before, and even after Brown’s pivotal game-saving play, Riley eschewed fourth-down opportunities that showed his newfound trust in Grinch’s defense. One was a fourth-and-7 from the Baylor 44, and one was a fourth-and-3 from the Baylor 47.In past years, Riley probably tries to go for it on fourth down. This year, with a defense backing him up, he happily punted and played the field position game.“I went back and forth in my mind a few times,” Riley said. “I was confident if it got to an overtime period, we would have a chance to score — and how could you not be confident with the way our defense was playing?”MORE: Oklahoma didn’t falter in do-or-die moment vs. BaylorThere may have been some PTSD leftover from the performances of the past three or four seasons — especially from last year, which posted numerous stats reflecting the worst defense in school history. Grinch has referred those stats as “ghosts.”“Yes,” Grinch said Saturday, “you’re making strides. But it’s a performance business. So it’s one thing to say I feel really good about how things are going, and we’re climbing a ladder to being a more respected defense in the conference and on the national level.“But you’re one game away from not being that. You can get chopped down real quick. Without question, progress is being made. And these guys understand, we’re establishing a standard for how we want to play, and when you establish a standard, you’ve got to hold yourself to that.”Now the sixth-ranked Sooners await Sunday’s Playoff announcement. They got what they needed from No. 13 Oregon on Friday when the Ducks beat No. 5 Utah 37-15 in the Pac-12 championship game. They got what they wanted from No. 2 LSU, which beat No. 4 Georgia 37-10 in the SEC championship game. ARLINGTON, Texas — ­­­College football has become a game of elite quarterbacks.But at Oklahoma, elite quarterbacks could only go so far.last_img read more

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Warriors rank best among 111 pro sports venues in this category

first_imgNot only are the Warriors usually the most aesthetically pleasing pro sports team to watch in North America, it turns out their food is also easiest on fans’ stomachs.Oracle Arena’s food stations had the lowest amount of high-level health violations reported among 111 NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL venues tested over a two-year period, according to an ESPN Outside The Lines report Thursday.Maybe that data will make the Warriors’ nauseating loss to the Raptors Wednesday night easier for their fans to …last_img

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Why Antonio Brown’s bizarre foot injury isn’t a real issue for the Raiders

first_imgAntonio Brown’s podiatric situation is strange, mysterious, and possibly hilarious.But we all know that’s par for the course with the Raiders.What we don’t know is when Brown will be on the field for the Raiders, and that has the entire NFL buzzing, more than a few hands in the East Bay wringing, and reporters from Pittsburgh taking victory laps for a team they cover.I saw the Instagram post — I know Brown’s foot issue isn’t nothing — but I’m not sure his gross, peeling feet are worth this …last_img

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Macandili not settling after winning AVC’s 2nd Best Libero

first_imgMan sworn in as lawyer by judge who sentenced him to prison as a teen 20 years ago Japan downs Thailand to win AVC gold WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding MOST READ “Of course, I was surprised because this is my first time as a national player and I think this brings a lot of pressure,” said Macandili in Filipino at Alonte Sports Arena. “Now I have to perform on a higher level compared to what I do now.”“I don’t want to settle with what I’ve achieved today and I feel that I can improve from what I did.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAnd just as fate would have it, Macandili’s Asian triumph happened exactly a year after she won the MVP in the PSL All-Filipino Conference after leading F2 Logistics to the championship.Macandili vowed that her award in the Asian Championship is not the culmination of her career. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:19Magalong: Albayalde also got SUV out of ‘agaw bato’ operation in 201301:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games CONTRIBUTED PHOTOBIÑAN, Laguna—Dawn Macandili may be the shortest player in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, yet on Thursday she stood as tall as anyone else.The Philippines’ unassuming defensive ace, who stands at five-feet tall, was shocked when her name was called as the tournament’s secnd Best Libero after helping the host to an eighth place finish in the Asian event.ADVERTISEMENT “It doesn’t stop in winning awards alone, I want to play and do my passion and that is volleyball,” said Macandili. “So that award is like a reward to the players who continue to play for the Philippines.” UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension Read Nextcenter_img Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief LATEST STORIES Flags of SEA Games countries raised at Athletes Village Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMClast_img read more

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San Miguel overcomes Globalport behind Santos’ heroics

first_imgView comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “Even though the players played sluggish, we were able to to come out as winners and I’m happy for them,” said San Miguel head coach Leo Austria as they improved to 3-1.Despite taking a 112-104 lead with 2:12 remaining in the game, the Beermen weren’t able to easily shake off the Batang Pier as the latter pounded to make it a one-possession game, 114-112, on the nine-second mark.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutCompounding San Miguel’s situation was June Mar Fajardo’s injury.The three-time MVP is still nursing his injured right calf he sustained before the Fiba Asia Championship. LATEST STORIES Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netSan Miguel bounced back and sank Globalport, 115-112, to get its third win in the PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Beermen, who are coming off a three-week break, had to rely on late-game heroics from Arwind Santos, who made the game’s final free throw and disrupted Murphy Holloway’s potential-game tying shot.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension SEA Games: PH’s Alisson Perticheto tops ice skating short program Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnessescenter_img LIST: Class, gov’t work suspensions during 30th SEA Games Read Next MOST READ “I was not able to give June Mar a lot of minutes because of his injury and he wasn’t able to join practice for the past two days because he’s still recuperating,” said Austria.Still, San Miguel enjoyed a three-pronged attack with Wendell McKines doing the most damage with 35 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists.Santos added 30 points to go along eight boards and five blocks while Alex Cabagnot had 27 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.Terrence Romeo led Globalport with 26 points and six boards while Holloway added 25 points and 23 boards.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Bench-clearing brawl erupts in La Salle, FEU pre-season gamelast_img read more

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10 months agoAjax midfielder De Jong accepts Barcelona contract offer

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Ajax midfielder De Jong accepts Barcelona contract offerby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAjax midfielder Frenkie de Jong has accepted a contract offer from Barcelona.Sport says the Blaugrana have taken a big leap forward in the push for the Ajax midfielder in recent weeks. De Jong has now given the OK to the club’s proposal, waiting for the two sides to reach an agreement for his fee. Barca has wanted to put a reservation on the player, who has always shown his willing to play at Camp Nou, to try and negotiate a lower fee.Barca have agreed with them that they can move for De Jong in June 2019 if the player wants to go – which he does. last_img

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a month agoNapoli striker Llorente fancies Spurs revenge on Liverpool

first_imgNapoli striker Llorente fancies Spurs revenge on Liverpoolby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveFernando Llorente is up for Napoli’s Champions League opener against Liverpool.The former Tottenham striker says he’ll be ready should he be called upon.He said, “My second match with Napoli and immediately I find the Champions League finalist who beat us in the final. I can’t wait to play and help the team, if I have the opportunity. “We have the dream of giving 100%, Liverpool started the championship in incredible form, the most important thing when we meet teams like this is that we don’t make mistakes, Liverpool have players with so much quality, it’s very strong on the break, they don’t make mistakes. We have to be very careful and play a great game, giving the maximum, each one of us.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Report: Cleveland Cavaliers Fire Head Coach David Blatt

first_imgLeBron James is surrounded by reporters discussing Ben Simmons.LeBron James Ben SimmonsUpdate: Wojnarowski is also reporting that Cleveland’s next head coach will be assistant Tyronn Lue. Lue and the team have already agree to a multi-year deal.Assistant Ty Lue has agreed to a multi-year deal as new Cavaliers head coach, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 22, 2016Earlier: Despite posting a 30-11 record and currently holding the No. 1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference, it’s been reported by Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the Cleveland Cavaliers have fired head coach David Blatt. Blatt, who posted a 53-29 record with the team last year, lasted just a season and a half in Cleveland.ESPN’s Brian Windhorst added that there’s been “unrest” in Cleveland’s locker room.Cleveland has fired coach David Blatt, sources tell Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 22, 2016The Cavs have fired coach David Blatt, sources confirm. First reported by Yahoo— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 22, 2016Despite positive comments publicly, there had been unrest growing in Cavs locker room. Frankly, it had been there since almost day one.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 22, 2016Despite up and downs, Blatt has had one ardent supporter in Cavs organization and that was owner Dan Gilbert.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 22, 2016LeBron James was informed of the decision to fire David Blatt today, he was not consulted on decision sources said— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 22, 2016James’ fondness for Ty Lue and his desire to be coached by a former player were well known in the organization. As were issues with Blatt— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) January 22, 2016Blatt, who came over from Maccabi Tel Aviv ahead of the 2014-2015 season, posted a regular season record of 83-40 in his time in Cleveland.last_img read more

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Amazon Studios Now Accepting Short Film Submissions For Feature Development

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Short films are the new scripts at Amazon Studios, which is opening its content development factory to shorts and concept videos for optioning into feature films.The new initiative begins today and works like Amazon’s existing script submission process: 2-15 minute videos can be submitted via Amazon Studios’ website either privately or publicly, with a 45-day option and evaluation period and a $10,000 fee awarded if a short is selected to the development slate.Amazon Studios has a first-look deal with WB and promises $200,000 to creators if their projects are produced with a $400,000 bonus if they top $60M at the box office. The upstart Amazon.com spin-off recently picked up five of its original TV pilots to series after launching their submissions program last year.COURTESY OF DEADLINE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more

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