NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -Gerald McCoy came out of the locker room without the towel he likes to wear as a cape. Even after a 26-point victory, Oklahoma's defensive effort didn't have him feeling like a superhero.
The Sooners' mighty defense was dominant when it needed to be in a 52-26 win over Cincinnati on Saturday, but McCoy was more focused on what could've been done better.
Oklahoma (2-0) moved up one spot in the rankings Sunday to No. 3, but fell in the defensive standings from first in the nation to eighth.
``We've still got a lot of things we could fix. We played better the second half, but I'm not going to just walk out of here like we're where we need to be, because we're not,'' McCoy said. ``It's just the second game of the season.''
ship. And then West Virginia exploited the defense again and again in a 48-28 Fiesta Bowl blowout.
So, there's plenty of reason for McCoy to be focused on the negative, even if Sooners coach Bob Stoops had a mostly positive assessment of how his defense fared against a Cincinnati unit that was 16th in the nation in scoring last season.
The Bearcats rolled up 245 yards of total offense in the first half, scoring on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Dustin Grutza and a 14-yard pass from Grutza to Dominick Goodman.
The other scoring came on a second-half kickoff return by Mardy Gilyard and a 1-yard dive by Scott Johnson that came as time expired, only after Cincinnati called timeout with 3 seconds left despite being 32 points down.
``Let's face it, these guys have racked up a bunch of points on a lot of people and the defense only gives up two touchdowns until the last second of the game,'' Stoops said. ``That's pretty darn good.''
Between halftime and the Bearcats' final drive in the last 83 seconds, the Sooners clamped down to allow only 43 yards and three first downs. Cincinnati's first three drives of the second half went four-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out.
With the defense doing its job, the Sooners' offense was able to put up 24 consecutive points and take control of the game.
that we went in the second half, made some adjustments and came out and played better,'' McCoy said.
Outside linebacker Travis Lewis had 12 tackles and two sacks in only his second career start, and a new defensive wrinkle helped Jeremy Beal become a disruptive force. A former linebacker who now plays defensive end, Beal kept his hand out of the dirt and was constantly moving along the line of scrimmage to find the right place to apply pressure.
He ended up with a career-high 10 tackles - four more than his previous best - to become the first Oklahoma defensive lineman to reach double digits since 2001. He also had a sack.
``Our defense is not a finished project. We have a ways to go,'' Beal said. ``We played good but we could have played better.''
The main hole that had to be plugged after the first half was finding a way to slow down Gilyard, who had seven catches for 119 yards before the break. He didn't catch a pass in the second half as Cincinnati's quarterbacks complete six of 19 passes.
That was a big improvement after Grutza went 16-for-21 for 206 yards and a touchdown over the first 30 minutes.
``They're a good team, a great offense. They can move the ball on anybody,'' McCoy said. ``We played good and those two touchdowns, we wish we didn't give up, but it's hard to not give up touchdowns when you're playing against a team as good as Cincinnati.''
w must find a way to duplicate the way they play at Owen Field when they go somewhere else. Oklahoma's three losses last season were at Colorado, at Texas Tech and at the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.
Next up on this year's schedule is a trip to Seattle on Saturday to face Washington, which lost 28-27 to then-No. 15 BYU last weekend. If his standards for facing Cincinnati are any indication, McCoy won't be happy unless the Huskies don't reach the end zone at all.
``The defense we try and play, we don't like to give up nothing. The slightest anything is just like too much to us,'' McCoy said. ``Two touchdowns is good, but we would like to not give up nothing.''

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