Bedlam is defined as “uproar and confusion” and I think we saw plenty of it today.
We got to see a rivalry of historic tradition in a year of anything but, and for that I am at least grateful. Even if it was a tough one to watch.
Injuries have been rampant this season, as kicker Alex Hale did not play due to a pre-game injury, Sanders missed most of the game due to a hard helmet hit, and offensive lineman Teven Jenkins out again this game in the first quarter.
Even so, the offense seemed like it struggled to click, and the defense didn’t look like the Cowboy defense we’ve come to know and love this season.
The trash talking and little love shoves began early, but the Cowboys were unable to stand to the challenge this year. The game ended with Sooners on top, 41-13.
First Takeaway: It Was A Slow And Painful Beginning..
I don’t want to hear the sound of band instruments playing a certain song for a very long time.
Two minutes in, touchdown, just for the wrong team. Nine minutes into the game, Cowboys are down 21-0. I would go out on a limb and say this was not the anticipated start.
OU had 192 yards in the first quarter, with just 64 for the Cowboys. In the second, OSU felt a bit more settled, finishing the half with 125 yards compared to 225 for the Sooners.
Amid taunting – I mean, it is Bedlam - and the quick early touchdowns, the first quarter did not feel like the team we’ve seen this year.
We needed some touchdowns for the good guys and save us from the excess of the “Boomer Sooner” song. There were red zone opportunities but the inability to punch in the touchdown really hurt and the Cowboys were unable to make the comeback.
Second Takeaway: The Battle Took A Bit Of A Toll
Shane Illingworth gets his first taste of Bedlam.
Sanders, hitting helmet to the ground hard in the first quarter, grimaced off the field and in comes freshman Illingworth. This story of Illingworth in for Sanders is becoming all too familiar this season.
Hubbard gave a few signature runs but was otherwise quiet, nursing an ankle injury through the second half. Wallace had a beautiful catch just inches from the sideline, but only had four receptions on the game.
It seemed that for every forward play, for every first down, there was a penalty or Sooner stop that snuffed any spark starting to emerge. Sanders re-enters the game early in the fourth, but it might be too little too late.
The “uproar and chaos” was not only evident in the inconsistency of the Cowboys’ offense, but also every little chip and jab and extra oomph that is Bedlam.
Heading into halftime, the teams had to be escorted past each other. We have a chippy game on our hands.
The pressure of Bedlam seemed to hit the Cowboys Saturday, disrupting the success the Cowboys have found offensively this season – amid injuries – and disrupting the defense.
Playing Bedlam in Norman adds a bit extra to the Bedlam pressure, but the Cowboys have played with skill this season that goes beyond what this game showed.
Third Takeaway: Momentum, Rhythm, Intensity – Just As Key As Fundamental Skills
Skills and numbers are important to the game.
But also, if you don’t hit a rhythm, those numbers are going to be tough to put up.
Injuries are always unexpected, and you can’t plan for it, but you can prepare for the unexpected (shout out to 2020 showing us that one). Even with a shuffle of quarterbacks, the offense struggled to be consistent and efficient.
The rhythm just wasn’t there, making it difficult to maintain momentum. There were moments of intensity felt from both sides, but the ebb and flow of the game was rocky.
A game is not told only by the numbers, but by the momentum; the back-and-forth flow of a football game is what makes it a game. This year’s Bedlam was definitely a game, but one that, for the Cowboys, struggled to find its rhythm.