Oklahoma football: ‘Obo’ Okoronkwo Big 12 Defender of the Week

Oklahoma football defensive end/outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week’

Okoronkwo’s superlative defensive performance helped the Sooners hold off Texas in the annual Red River Showdown on Saturday and defeat the Longhorns 29-24 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

The man they call “Obo” was a very busy man on the defensive side of the ball on Saturday, recording five tackles, a quarterback sack for a loss of nine yards, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and five quarterback hurries. His presence and constant pressure on the Texas quarterbacks, Sam Ehlinger and Shane Buechele, was a key factor in Oklahoma limiting the Longhorn QB to a 48.8 completion percentage (21 for 43).

The 6-foot, 1-inch, 240-pound Sooner senior, from Houston, Texas, also was a key figure in holding the Longhorn offense to 169 yards rushing and 3.6 yards per carry.

This is the first time Okoronkwo has received a Big 12 Player of the Week honor and the first time this season that an Oklahoma defensive player has been so honored.

A year ago, “Obo” was a second-team All-Big 12 selection, and he tied former Sooner Eric Striker for the most sacks recorded in a single season by an OU linebacker (9.0). Okoronkwo is on a pace to better that mark this season. Through six games, he has six sacks and is averaging one per game. That leads the Big 12 and ranks eighth nationally.

His three forced fumbles in 2017 leads the Big 12 and is tied for second-best nationally, and his 10 tackles for a loss also ranks second in the nation.

“Obo” left everything he had on the field last Saturday. He was cramping up badly by the end of the game — as were several of his teammates, with the air temperature exceeding 90 degrees at kickoff — and could barely make it off the field on his own. When he was in the game, however, he was a major disruptive force.

This is the fifth straight year that at least one player from Oklahoma has been named Defensive Player of the Week in the conference.