McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

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November 15, 2013

Buffs overwhelm Cardinals in playoff-opener

(Continued)

McALESTER —

Williams quickly darted into the end zone, and Wood floated a soft pass to him in the end zone for a 69-21 lead on what Wood called the easiest touchdown pass he’d ever thrown.

“He deserves it more than anybody else on the team,” Caden Pratt said of Williams. Pratt caught a 70-yard pass from Wood on the first play of the second quarter, benefiting from solid downfield blocking by Williams.

An 82-yard touchdown run by Smith with 10:12 left in the fourth meant the end of the night for McAlester's varsity. The Cardinals ran 30 plays against the Buffs' starting defense in the second half, scoring no points and recording just 33 total yards.

“Couldn’t be more proud of the way we play in the second half,” Buffs coach Bryan Pratt said. “Very, very, very explosive, and if we can continue to do that in the future, we’ll keep playing.

“We came out in the second half with a little more intensity. I thought we tackled a whole lot better and played with a little bit of emotion.”

The Buffs’ second-half defensive success came in part from a halftime adjustment to their blitz. The Buffs had repeatedly gone with a full blitz in the first half, relying on their secondary to play man-to-man coverage and leaving them vulnerable to screen passes.

The Buffs switched in the second half to showing a full blitz at the line of scrimmage, then leaving one defender standing there to watch for a potential screen.

On the Cardinals’ first drive of the third, quarterback Trevon Cherry tried a screen pass on fourth-and-4 from his 45, and linebacker Robby Stephens easily swatted it down.

The Buffs’ defense sacked Cherry eight times, getting sacks from multiple players, including Keaton Slater, Riley Smith, Lane Grant and Payton Haynes. The defense recorded 15 total tackles behind the line scrimmage for negative yardage, plus five more at the line for no gain.

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