One day after OU was upset by Texas in the Cotton Bowl, there’s still a lot of surprised Oklahomans who thought the Sooners were in store for an easy win against its biggest rival. Here are a few more thoughts on the 24-17 OU loss.
Rough day for the offensive line
I touched on this a little bit yesterday in the Instant Analysis, but the OU offensive line will have to perform better if the Sooners have any chance of seeing success moving forward. I know it’s an inexperienced group, but what we witnessed yesterday was hard to watch.
The Longhorns sent blitz after blitz, and the Sooner front struggled to contain the UT pressure and ultimately allowed quarterback Baker Mayfield to get sacked six times.
#OU simply has one of its poorer offensive lines. Couldn't even execute reverse pass b/c of limp blocking and another 3rd down sack/stop-bad— Dean Blevins (@DeanBlevins) October 10, 2015
The blocking wasn’t the only thing that was bad for the offensive line. As SB Nation points out in tweet below, right tackle Josiah St. John’s stance was giving away whether the Sooners would be running or throwing the ball.
There were also times when Baker Mayfield was frantic in the pocket, and one could argue he scrambled when he didn’t necessarily need to. But with the protection Mayfield’s gotten this season, can you really blame the guy for wanting to duck early? I certainly don’t.
The run blocking wasn’t much better. OU only combined for 67 rushing yards on 18 attempts from Sooner running backs. This o-line group has the potential to be very good someday, but they must get something figured out for the short term.
Biggest play of the game
The most impactful play of the Texas win on Saturday didn’t come on offense or defense, or even in the second half. The tone-setting play happened in the first quarter on an Alex Ross kick return.
Texas had just scored the first touchdown of the game, and the Sooners desperately needed to respond in order to cool down an ecstatic Longhorn team. Instead of potentially putting together a scoring drive of their own, the Ross fumble allowed UT to tack seven more points on the board and extend its lead to 14.
In my opinion, that’s when the game really went south for OU. The Longhorns were steaming hot, and the entire UT team was able to play loose with a cushiony lead, while the Sooners were back on their heels. Interestingly enough, that fumble was the only turnover of the game by either team.
Tyrone Swoopes or Tim Tebow?
At the start of the fourth quarter while holding a one touchdown lead, the Longhorns inserted backup quarterback Tyrone Swoopes into the game when UT had the ball near the goal line. To that point, Swoopes had taken a few snaps in a formation similar to the Bell-Dozer, but what he did on this occasion brought back memories of Tim Tebow at Florida.
Swoopes took the snap, faked as if he were running forward to confuse the defense, then dropped back and hit a wide open Caleb Bluiett in the back of the endzone. While the Sooner defense was clueless that play was coming, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops was fully aware but couldn’t do anything about it according to The Oklahoman.
“They hadn’t shown it, but I knew it was there because we had just stopped the run,” Stoops said. “They went to the same formation. They weren’t going to run it again. We had them outnumbered and just didn’t have our guys prepared, ready for the play.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
It’s natural for any fan to be upset about their team losing, or overreact about one loss. Losing to an unranked team definitely won’t help OU’s resume, but there’s still a lot to play for moving forward.
With upcoming games against top five teams such as Baylor and TCU, and other tough opponents such as Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech also on the schedule, the Sooners have plenty of opportunities to pick up quality wins.
Let’s not forget, OU went on to have a memorable season in 2013 after getting shocked by Texas in similar fashion. OU went back to the drawing board and picked up a big Bedlam win and still finished the season in the top 10 after beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.