WACO, Texas — No. 10 Oklahoma escaped Waco with a 34-31 win over No. 13 Baylor.
The Sooners' defense forced two turnovers, which were their first since Sept. 28's 55-16 win over Texas Tech, and they shut out Baylor in the second half.
Here's what defensive coordinator Alex Grinch said after the win:
On how the team responded in the second half
"Things have a tendency to not go well when you don’t have 11 guys executing at an elite level, and so the hole you dig is the one that you’ve got the shovel in hand — and we did our part in diggin’ it. Obviously, give them credit. In an atmosphere like that against a very good football team, you have to weather the storm early, and certainly you can make the claim that we did that, and so we gotta do a better job as coaches to make sure that we’re prepared for those moments."
On the team's resilience through injuries
"I’d give anything to get the high-end results that are expected at Oklahoma right away, but this is part of our story, and we told them at halftime. It’ll be a hell of a story if we come back and win this football game, and so this is part of it. We’ll use it to our advantage. You know, we’ve got four starters out with ACL injuries. They may not be household names, and so whether it’s reported on or not I don’t know, but in any event, that’s a credit to some of these guys stepping up, and we’re constantly working through from a depth standpoint. We’ve got a lot of work obviously to do, but we’ve got a group of guys that showed some battle tonight, and that gives you a shot."
On redshirt freshman linebacker Nik Bonitto's game-winning interception
"It’s maybe a little bit different for a wide receiver to be in that situation, but for a rush linebacker, in that particular instance, we’re dropping in coverage. You know they don’t have timeouts so you’re gonna work boundaries, and so you’re trying to kind of mix some looks there into the boundary. That one there on second down put him in position — kind of has a hash dropper for us and maybe caught the quarterback a little by surprise, to see him back there, and put him in a position to make the play, and you gotta expect it. Then you come back to the next play, and he’s dropping out to the flat to make it."
On importance of takeaways
"It was a big relief for me. We say takeaways again because you’re not hoping the ball just bounces your way — hope isn’t a strategy. We’ll take those too, believe me. I thought, what takeaways are as much as anything obviously is that they create possessions, and we have a pretty good offense here, so if we can just get one more possession, two more possessions. God, imagine if we got three more possessions to that offense every week, what we could be as a football program. And the other thing, too, is it puts a massive amount of stress on you as a defense. If you’re not getting takeaways, it means that every drive is completed in some way shape or form that includes a third down or a score for the offense, a third down stop or a score."
On how the offense and defense can complement each other
"Complementary football certainly helps everybody. I think when we’re getting three-and-outs, it helps the offense. I think when they’re marching down the field, it certainly helps the defense. I certainly wouldn’t complain. When the drives end with 7 on our offense, especially in a game like tonight, I think that’s the number one priority for those guys that gets you excited on the defensive side of the ball.
"But we’ll take every opportunity to go on the field only a certain amount of time. Once again, to my previous point, you gotta find a way to get three-and-out. You gotta find a way to get takeaways. You gotta find a way to get off the field. It looks a whole lot different if they march down the field and then the opposing offense marches down the field, so you’ve still got to find a way to get stops.”