There was plenty of blame to be spread around in the Oklahoma Sooners' 36-27 loss to the Missouri Tigers last night. Problems that have plagued OU from the jump snowballed into Mizzou's second win against the Sooners in its last 22 tries.
OU couldn't run the ball. OU couldn't stop the run. Mizzou's front four worked over Oklahoma's offensive line. OU had zero pass rush.
Truth be told, though, this game went south before halftime. The Sooners served up the game on a silver platter, and the Tigers devoured the delicacies put before them.
OU held a 100 yard advantage in total offense in the first half – outgaining Mizzou by 1.5 yards per play – and still trailed by three going into the break. Giving up touchdowns on a kickoff return and a 30 yard drive will do that to you.
The first interception thrown by Landry Jones in Mizzou's red zone didn't just kill the Sooners' momentum, it completely swung it over to the Tigers. Instead of OU going in to take the lead, after defensive end Aldon Smith had rumbled 60 yards the other way, Missouri had the ball on the Sooners' 28.
Mossis Madu's fumble on the ensuing drive – again, inside Missouri's 20 – represented yet another blown opportunity.
In fairness, Mizzou overcame some of its own blunders, including a muffled punt and a fumble inside its own territory early in the second half. However, even when the Tigers handed the Sooners gift points, they let them slip through their fingers. Erratic kicker Jimmy Stevens botched a chip-shot field goal following Missouri's second turnover, for instance.
Despite leaving plenty of points on the field, OU still had a 21-20 lead heading into the fourth quarter. However, Missouri proved in the last 15 minutes that it is way too good of a team for anyone to leave hanging around. The Tigers reached out and grabbed hold of a game that was still in the balance, and they did so by putting a severe beating on the worn-down Sooners in the final quarter. The fact of the matter, though, is that the seeds of this upset had been sown far earlier.
*After giving it some more thought, I actually agree with Bob Stoops' call to go for two trailing by nine with six minutes left. Kicking the extra point would have put OU down eight. Let's say the Sooners get a stop, get the ball back and then score with about a minute or so left in the game. If OU was to then miss the two-point conversion, OU would need another score, but only have a minute left to play.
In other words, since I have to go for two at some point either way, I'd rather be coaching knowing if I had made it with six minutes left than with one.
*However, I still hated the late punt. Stoops essentially quit, and you have to think it had something to do with trying to keep the margin of OU's loss down.
That kinda stuff helps with the pollsters. It also sends a bad message to your team, though. Pathetic.
*I've said all along that I think OU is roughly a 10-2 team. So, of course I pick OU to win at Mizzou, which was clearly one of the Sooners' most likely losses in their remaining games. Pathetic.
*Orangebloods.com writer Chip Brown apparently thinks the fact that Missouri beat OU proves that he was right about his power rankings this week. No mention, of course, that the team he said was best in the league got worked around on its home field yesterday by Iowa State.
*Didn't yesterday's game seem to play out a lot like 2007, when OU beat Missouri in Norman, only in reverse? If history holds true to form, that means the Sooners and Tigers will meet again this year.
Then again, it also means Mizzou will win the next one, too. Just forget I said anything.
*Gary Pinkel and his staff schemed awfully well for this game. Dave Yost consistently exploited OU's problems this year with misdirection running plays by calling jet sweeps. Meanwhile, when the opportunities presented themselves, Pinkel played to win. The hook and ladder in the fourth quarter was a prime example.
Defensive coordinator Dave Steckel deserves consideration for the Broyles Award. His D is legit, which has been rare in Columbia.