Oklahoma Football 2011: 3rd Quarter Key for Sooners

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Oklahoma Football 2011: 3rd Quarter Key for Sooners
Brett Deering/Getty Images

After the Oklahoma Sooners took their parting shot at conference runaway Texas A&M, beating the SEC-bound Aggies convincingly 41-25 in Norman Saturday evening, a pattern began to emerge.

For the second straight game, the Sooners have come out of the locker room after halftime firing on all cylinders. Landry Jones led the offense to 28 unanswered points against A&M in the third quarter, after putting up 21 straight points against Kansas State the week prior.

Travis Lewis had his defense playing well too, bottling up the Aggies and Wildcats for minimal yards and zero points in both weeks.

Looking at the entire season, this is not a new trend.

Whatever head coach Bob Stoops is feeding these kids at halftime is getting results, as the Sooners have outscored their opponents a combined 125 to 10 in the third quarter in 2011. The only two scores allowed this season in the third were a touchdown to Texas Tech (still stings) and a field goal by Florida State back in Week 2.

They have only been out-gained one time this season in the third quarter (FSU), piling up 158 yards per game compared to only 72 for their foes.

This trend has been most impressive the last two weeks considering both games were very close at halftime, only to be busted wide open by the Sooners.Games against Kansas and Texas are other shining examples, especially for the defense, of the third quarter dominance.

So, what does this mean? To put it simply, it means Bob Stoops is earning his paycheck. Coach Stoops has always been known for making necessary adjustments for the second half and he seems to be at the height of his game currently.

It also means the players are listening and responding, two qualities that not all teams have. They are smart enough to listen to their coaches and focused enough to put the changes into play once they step back on the field. Good senior leadership helps this process go from coach's mouth to the field, something the Sooners have plenty of with Ryan Broyles, Travis Lewis and Frank Alexander, to name a few.

With three tough games remaining and the Sooners on the BCS title fringe, these are all very positive signs.

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