Oklahoma defense falters for first time this season
Oklahoma's winning formula that got it to 5-0 falters for first time this season in its upset loss to Texas.
By ANDREW GILMANFS Southwest
DALLAS -- This is what happens when you turn the ball over and can't run the ball or stop the run.
You lose, and it's not close.
This is what you expect when you give up big plays on special teams and stop making the simple plays that became so common-place the first five games of the season as
Oklahoma won at Notre Dame and snuck up close to the top 10 in the national rankings.
You get beat, even when going into the game you shouldn't have. Everyone gets that, and while what happened Saturday is no mystery, what happens next sure is.
Instead of 6-0 and thinking Big 12 championship,
OU got ambushed by
Bring on the questions because know one knows what's next.
Five games and five wins, OU valued the football, holding onto it like a bad grudge. Saturday against Texas in the Cotton Bowl, quarterback Blake Bell gave it up twice.
In five games and in five wins, OU ran the ball (246 yards per game) and stopped the run (113 yards per game). They did neither against Texas.
The offense had been good and the defense had been consistent. Not against Texas.
So, where do we go from here? Another defensive performance like this one (255 yards rushing allowed), a special teams touchdown, an interception return for a touchdown and two other possessions where Texas should have scored, and OU looks a heck of a lot like the Oklahoma team that fell apart defensively the second half of the past two seasons.
And Bell, who had played in this game twice, scored four touchdowns against Texas last year, looked so shaky it would be impossible to not wonder if what he did against Tulsa and Notre Dame was an exception or the rule.
Bell threw a pair of dreadful interceptions and showed slightly less touch than a blacksmith, finishing 12-of-26 for 133 yards. He was sacked four times, rushed countless others and seemingly lost more than that.
"We were prepared," Bell said. "It comes down to executing. I take full blame for the picks I threw. You can't turn the ball over. I just have to execute."
And to be fair, this one wasn't all on Bell. The OU defense, a pleasant surprise up until Saturday, did nothing that was recognizable. Maybe it was because linebacker Corey Nelson was missing and maybe it ws because defensive tackle Jordan Phillips didn't play, but intstead of stopping the run, they enabled it. Texas had two runners go for more than 100 yards.
Meanwhile, on offense, OU had been great running the ball, going for 246 yards per game, armed with a quarterback in Bell, who got when he wanted, when he wanted it. And now, facing a Texas team, which couldn't stop BYU, Ole Miss or anyone this season, the
Sooners were set for a graphic exploitation.
Now, all we have to do is wonder if the Sooners are the same team. OU's leading rusher was Keith Ford (34) yards. Bell carried it twice in the first half and finished with negative-27. Brennan Clay had 26. Trey Millard had 32.
"We had seen the stuff put out in the media," center Gabe Ikard said. "We knew that we couldn't overlook them. They could definitely beat us. We didn't play well on offense for sure , didn't play well on defense and gave up some big plays on special teams."
Perhaps, we'll get better answers next week when OU plays at a Kansas team coach Charie Weis called, "a big pile of crap,'' but after putting together such a nice start through five games, so much was undone in 60 minutes.
Coach Bob Stoops said earlier in the week he wasn't surprised by anything his team had done. Wonder if he is now, allowing a season-high in points? It was the Sooners who were used to lopsided meetings with Texas, winning last year by 42 points and winning in 2011 by 38.
No wonder we're confused. This wasn't the team we had seen through five games. It wasn't the Texas team we were used to, either. Once 1-2 and beaten, Texas is at the top of the Big 12 Conference at 3-0.
"We got a long season in front of us," Stoops said. "I see a lot of potential with our team."