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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Sooners Take Huge Step Back Against Red Raiders

In their 2008 matchup with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the Oklahoma Sooners scored their first touchdown six minutes into the game. It marked the first of nine scores in a 65-21 victory.

In Saturday's 41-13 Tech win, OU picked up its only touchdown of the game in the 53rd minute.

With one game remaining in a frustrating season, the embarrassing beatdown suffered in Lubbock showed that OU's offensive about-face from last year is all but complete. Think of it as about a 165-degree turnaround—heading the wrong way, of course.

A drop-off in production from last season's prodigious totals wouldn't have been shocking, especially given all the offensive talent standing on the Sooners' sideline. Yet, who could have foreseen such a dramatic collapse?

The vaunted Sooner defense certainly deserves its fair share of the blame for Saturday's boondoggle. However, the putrid performance on the other side of the ball had a large hand in the D's tough day. Time and again, OU's failure to generate first downs, let alone points, put Tech in good field position against a group of defenders who were gradually wearing down.

It was a vicious cycle for the Sooners, as the Red Raiders chewed up the clock on offense and their defenders rested on the sideline. Tech finished the game with a 14-minute advantage in time of possession.

The floodgates opened early in the second half. If I recall correctly, Tech scored on something like 15 straight drives, interrupted only to give OU opportunities to go three and out.

So, how did Tech and defensive coordinator Ruffin McNeil shut the Sooners down? Well, as was the case two weeks ago at Nebraska and two weeks before that against Texas, the OU run game flat-out sucked. Running backs Chris Brown and DeMarco Murray rushed for a total of 51 yards on 18 carries, a shade under three yards per carry.

As a result, the Red Raiders put the onus on quarterback Landry Jones to beat them, and the redshirt freshman again failed to deliver.

Jones ended the game with not-terrible numbers: 18 completions on 35 attempts, 262 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The 51 yards accumulated on the aforementioned touchdown in the fourth quarter underscores the passing game's impotence on Saturday, though. (As if the measly 13 points the Sooners scored wasn't proof enough.)

The glass quarter-full take on the latest dismal performance by the offense is that no team could overcome the nonstop slew of injuries OU's offense has suffered this season. The latest blow came when center Ben Habern went down early in the game on Saturday with a broken fibula. That upheaval, particularly in the front five, has crippled whatever chances the Sooners had of coalescing.

However, even if you're willing to cut coach Bob Stoops and his team some slack for all the adversity they've faced this season, the lack of improvement on offense is a major cause for concern going forward. Keep in mind that it wasn't Ndamukong Suh and Jared Crick whipping a massively underachieving offensive line Saturday.

By OU's standards, 2008 is a lost cause. If the lumps the Sooners are taking now aren't helping the core of the 2010 squad get better, that's a frightening thought.