The Oklahoma-Iowa State game was harder to watch than last week’s cratering in Norman.
The Sooners’ come-from-ahead loss to the Wildcats was a slow build, but at least it was building towards something finite, and most importantly, clear.
Kansas State scored 24 consecutive points and showed us what was clear about the Sooners: the offense marched up and down the field whenever they wanted and the defense couldn’t tackle.
The Iowa State game was much more confusing. It looked like OU was trying its darndest to look like the Cyclones and vice versa.
The Sooners scored two offensive touchdowns and settled for three field goal attempts through three quarters of play.
The big plays we’re accustomed to seeing on offense just weren’t there.
We must remind ourselves that Saturday’s game was a meeting between the popular preseason Big 12 champion and the team picked to finish fourth in the conference, but it didn’t feel like that. It felt like a game between two five-win teams fighting for bowl eligibility.
At least the Sooners continued their tackling struggles on defense.
First Takeaway: Brendan Radley-Hiles (And His Teammates) Had A Forgettable Night Several Times Over
A simple search of Brendan Radley-Hiles’ name on social media Saturday night was all that was necessary to see Sooner fans express their disgust at the junior defensive back’s effort.
Radley-Hiles spent most of the 2019 season as a nickel corner, but he kept finding himself tangled with former Norman North stud and current ISU tight end Charlie Kolar.
Facing a first down and goal at OU’s eight-yard line late in the second quarter, Radley-Hiles was called for pass interference in the end zone. The penalty put the ball on OU’s two-yard line and ISU promptly punched it in for their first touchdown of the game.
Radley-Hiles had an interception slip off of his fingertips in the second half. He was also called for another pass interference penalty against Kolar that led to ISU’s game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Saturday’s loss doesn’t fall squarely on Radley-Hiles’ shoulders. It falls on the shoulders of him and the rest of his teammates.
Second Takeaway: They Finally Got One, But…
Sophomore defensive lineman Josh Ellison recovered the Sooners’ first fumble of the 2020 season and it could not have come at a better time.
Ellison scooped up the ball following Isaiah Thomas’ sack of Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy with the game tied at 23 early in the fourth quarter. Four plays later, the Sooners scored a touchdown to go back in front.
Here comes the “but.” Special teams reared its ugly head (again) on the ensuing kickoff.
ISU’s Kene Nwangwu returned the kickoff 85 yards to the OU 13-yard line. The Cyclones were back in business.
You might also remember a blocked OU punt that contributed to K-State’s comeback victory last Saturday afternoon.
If a team is winning only one of three phases of the football game, it won’t win a heck of a lot full football games.
Third Takeaway: 1960
In 1959, the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association played its last season of football. The reason? The league decided to add a new university to its seven schools starting with the 1960 football season – Oklahoma State. The conference also went by a sleeker, less clunky name than the MVIAA.
Something like, uhhhh, the Big Eight Conference. Hey, that really rolls off the tongue.
Before OU’s loss Saturday, the 1960 football season was also the last time the Sooners lost to Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.
The 2020 Sooners will be remembered, in part, because they were the team that did something no other Sooner team had done in 60 years.
As the Sooners sit at 0-2 in Big 12 play, there are three teams that sit atop the Big 12 with 2-0 records: the two teams responsible for OU’s losses (Iowa State and Kansas State) and, of course, Oklahoma State.