That was disappointing. Let’s forgo the usual “Ridiculous and Sublime” for this game, because there was nothing on the positive side of the ledger for the good guys.
A number of factors contributed to the Oklahoma State Cowboys’ blowout 44-10 win over the Oklahoma Sooners, a victory that helped the Pokes secure their first Big 12 championship and a potential bid to the national title game. Not the least of which is the fact that OSU is an outstanding team that came into this game with fantastic game plan.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken exploited the OU defense time and again by dissecting the coverage schemes with shallowing crossing routes. Like Baylor and Texas Tech, OSU worked over the underbelly of the Oklahoma D, clearing out the secondary deep and hitting its speedy receivers running free short across the field. (Considering how often that happens – to borrow from the Colonel – maybe it’s time to think about getting some new shit.)
Considering OU play caller Josh Heupel appeared completely uninterested in trying to establish OU’s running game, the Sooners’ eggs were in the passing game basket. Didn’t turn out well.
Quarterback Landry Jones looked completely flummoxed by the blitz packages being dialed up by defensive coordinator Bill Young. In the first half, Jones generally did manage to deliver catchabe balls to his receivers; they just couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. The second half produced just more of the same.
And then there were the turnovers. And the injuries. Sheesh – what a disaster.
Honestly, though, if you want to whittle this edition of Bedlam all the way down to its core, the game came down to energy, enthusiasm and attitude. Nowhere was that more evident than the way OSU flat-out whipped OU in the trenches. The Pokes’ offensive line mashed OU all over the field, physically pounding the Sooners into submission and keeping stellar quarterback Brandon Weeden clean the entire game. When OU had the ball, the Cowboys consistently blew through OU’s offensive line with little resistance.
The Cowboys played like a team on a mission. OU played like a team that could care less about adding another Big 12 trophy to its collection. And therein lies the rub.
The Sooners entered this season embracing the high expectations thrust upon them by not only the media and pollsters, but their coach as well. For the first six weeks of the season, they wore No. 1 well.
After routing what turned out to be a decidedly mediocre Texas squad in the Red River Shootout, however, this team changed. Jones admitted as much after OU’s shocking loss to Texas Tech, noting that the Sooners had started taking success for granted. It looked like OU might have shaken that malaise once it thumped Kansas State, but it turned out to just be fools’ gold.
File this under #firstworldproblems, but is it possible that players, a program, its fanbase, only have so much emotion in the tank when it comes to big games? The more of them that you play, do they start to lose their relevance?
If so, let’s hope for the Sooners’ sake this season serves as a shock to the program’s system.