An incredibly tough loss for the Sooners and their fans to absorb. Let’s begin with the rundown and then have a quick chat about where Oklahoma goes from here.
Most of the first half
Pretty much everything until there were six seconds left in the half. The offense had put up 31 points, and the defense held up without breaking. Despite showing danger signs versus Georgia’s power running attack, the D managed to generate some stops. OU looked ready to deliver a knockout blow to UGA’s game plan and force more of a pass-oriented approach in the second half.
OU’s young wide receivers, CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown, showed up against a vaunted SEC defense. The duo of Rodney Anderson and Trey Sermon at running back rushed for more than 200 yards. The offensive line did its part in leading the way for the attack.
Most of the second half and overtime
Other than one last vintage Baker Mayfield drive in the fourth quarter and a scoop and score, the second half was terrible.
The offense in the third quarter appeared stale. Was Mayfield hurt? Did his medication stop working after halftime? Credit UGA, but Mayfield looked off.
The tackling and run defense overall were horrible. Nick Chubb's TD run was an embarrassment. Sony Michel's TD run was no better. Forcing UGA to drive the ball even for a minute or two would have made a huge difference at the end of the game.
Mayfield’s interception was probably his worst throw since the Texas game. The play calling in OT was just plain strange, especially the lack of aggression and not putting the game in Mayfield’s hands. I love Jordan Smallwood’s comeback from years of injury to be a contributor, but why give it to him instead of throwing play action to Mark Andrews or Lamb? Why was OU not going for touchdowns?
A kick that will now live in OU football infamy. Austin Siebert's squib kick went right at an UGA player, allowing the Bulldogs to steal three points before halftime. Being down three scores would have changed the whole complexion of the third and fourth quarters.
It was a fluky play, proving that sometimes you have to be lucky and good. Still, with Seibert booming kicks into the end zone for touchbacks, why did OU bother with the squib at all?
It seems like OU’s pursuit of national title is sometimes cursed by Bob Stoops' quick run to the championship in 2000. Honestly, if OU played UGA in a best of five, I think it would go to a game five. That’s how close the two teams were.
If you watched any of the bowl performances in the country, then you’d know this statement is completely defensible: OU is a top five program in the country right now, and the gap between that group and the next five is considerable. It’s OU, Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia and Alabama.
OU has overachieved based off recruiting rankings courtesy of elite play at QB. Now OU is losing said elite QB, but the talent line is up way in recruiting. OU stands poised to post back-to-back classes in the top 10 for the first time in a decade, and 2019 recruiting is on fire right now. OU is flashing potential for a top five class next year.
Lookng ahead, OU is going to continue to produce elite offenses. Even so, OU cannot expect Kyler Murray or the QB after him to be Mayfield-level good. OU has to get significantly better on defense, and that improvement cannot happen under the stewardship of Mike Stoops. Just like OU benefited from an infusion of new ideas and energy on offense when Bob Stoops imported Lincoln Riley from East Carolina three years ago, the Sooners badly need new defensive coaches and better recruiters on that side of the ball.
Riley rode out Bob Stoops 3.0 to its ultimate end. It’s now time for Lincoln Riley 1.0.