Saturday night's match-up with the Kansas State Wildcats had all the makings of a game that Oklahoma typically dominates.
This is not a typical Oklahoma team.
Kansas State's 24-19 upset win marked Bob Stoops' first home loss to a ranked team. Prior to the game, OU was 16-4 coming off of a bye under Stoops. The Sooners had lost to Kansas State just once since Stoops took over in 1999.
Unfortunately, trends and history don't win games.
The Sooners bumbled and fumbled their way through the contest, and as well-coached teams do, K-State gladly took advantage. OU was sloppy with the ball, giving the Wildcats 17 points off turnovers. The Sooners burned multiple timeouts on defense due to either miscommunication or an inability to get properly aligned. They wasted another late in the fourth quarter when they tried to get cute with a trick play on a two-point conversion that would have brought them within three points. A long touchdown run was negated by a holding penalty on receiver Justin Brown.
When the Sooners did put themselves in scoring position, they shot themselves in the foot more often than not. Had OU not received a fortunate replay reversal on a bizarre flip play deep in its own territory, who knows how much greater KSU's margin of victory would have been?
Yet, how Oklahoma lost this game seems far less important than what it all means in terms of the bigger picture for the program. The same issues continue to rear their ugly heads for the Sooners in what officially qualifies as a disturbing slump.
Even with all the poor execution on the part of the players, offensive coordinator Josh Heupel's offensive scheming remains the most frustrating aspect of OU's disappointing play, dating back to late in the 2011 season.
Ever since Ryan Broyles was lost to a knee injury in the middle of last season, OU's offense has drifted along. The Sooners poke and prod at opposing defenses with little direction and even less success. Whereas the uptempo, no-huddle offense once overpowered opponents, it now feels almost reactive. OU used to push the ball down the field and pressure defenses to keep up. Now, there's so much "hurry up and wait" going on out there that the Sooners look flat-out indecisive.
Furthermore, despite quarterback Landry Jones' erratic play, Heupel continues to put the game on his quarterback's shoulders at the expense of his ground attack – OU ran the ball 27 times versus KSU, while throwing it 43 times. Jones has clearly buckled under that weight. He's panicking in the pocket, locking on targets and struggling to develop chemistry with the receiving corps. It's as though all of the flaws evidenced in his game early in his career have been magnified to the point that he has actually regressed from where he was as a quarterback two years ago.
So, what now? Well, if you've followed Oklahoma for the last 13 years, you know that not much will change.
Bob Stoops has a stubborn streak that qualifies as confidence when his teams are winning and hubris when they're not winning as much. He's intensely loyal, so a shake-up in the coaching staff at this point in the season seems unlikely. That loyalty almost certainly extends to Jones, who passed on leaving early for the NFL to play a fifth year in Norman. In other words, don't bet on a change under center.
No, Sooner Nation has to accept that what you see with this squad is probably what you're going to get from here until December.
And it's not great.