Was Sooners Loss to Texas an Anomaly or a Reality?


The Sooners spun their wheels on the Cotton Bowl turf in showing their worst side in this year’s showdown with Texas, but they were in full-traction mode in throttling Kansas State on Saturday.

So from famine to feast in one week’s time. What are we really to make of OU football this season.? Was the tumble in this year’s Red River rumble just an anomaly, or a real representation of the flaws that the Sooners managed to do a good job of masking in the blowout at K-State?

The Sooners were punched in the mouth early and on their heels practically the entire game against an angry bunch of Longhorns determined to show the experts they were better than 17-point underdogs to then 10th-ranked Oklahoma. The difference on Saturday at Kansas State was that OU was the team that came out punching.

Oct 17, 2015; Manhattan, KS, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Daniel Brooks (34) finds room to run during a 55-0 win against the Kansas State Wildcats at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Going 71 yards on five plays to score in just over a minute’s time after receiving the opening kickoff, Oklahoma set the tone early and let it be known that this wasn’t going to be the same team that the K-State coaches and players had viewed on tape and licked their chops over from the week before.

The big concern around the Sooner Nation all last week was: As poorly as OU ran the ball against Texas, how could it possibly get any better going against a Kansas State defensive front that is even better defending the run than the Longhorns? Moreover, with the inability the Sooners had shown in the last couple of games to stop the running game, it appeared that the OU defense would be feeding right into Kansas State’s strength and ball-control style of offense.

So what happens on Saturday, going up against a Bill Snyder-coached Kansas State team that is especially tough at home against visiting opponents? The Sooners break out with 232 yards rushing, the heavy lifting being done by Joe Mixon (73 yards) and Samage Perine (56 yards), with redshirt junior Daniel Brooks adding 41 yards on the ground for good measure.

The week before against Texas, the Oklahoma run game totaled just 67 yards on 37 rushing attempts, an average of only 1.8 yards per carry. That production is certainly not going to win you many games, and it clearly puts added pressure on passing the football. The Longhorns came into their game with their longtime border rivals as the 108th team in the nation against the rush. Kansas State entered Saturday’s game with the Sooners ranked 58th in that category. Go figure.

Oct 10, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns running back D

Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley figured OU would have an advantage throwing the football against a Kansas State secondary that has sustained injuries this season and was among the worst in the country in pass defense. Thhat strategy proved to be spot on as three Oklahoma quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield, Trevor Knight and Cody Thomas) were on target on 25 of 32 pass attempts for 336 yards, including five touchdown passes by Mayfield.

The Sooners had some success through the air in the Texas game, but they found themselves in too many third-and-long plays to keep the chains moving and put themselves in better position to score.

Oklahoma could have, and probably should have, beaten Texas. But it didn’t, and that’s because the Longhorns had a better game plan, they executed it well and the Sooners, quite frankly, did not execute well at all and undoubtedly entered the game underestimating the talent and ability of their opponent, who was off to one of its worst starts in program history. Although Texas had lost four of its first five games, all four losses were to teams ranked in the top 25 at the time the game was played.

More from OU Football

If anything, the loss to Texas the week before, and the way the Sooners lost that game, served as a huge wakeup call and may have saved Oklahoma from experiencing a similar fate at Kansas State. Had the Sooners not lost to Texas, I would wager that the homecoming game at K-State might have been a much closer contest than the lopsided way it turned out.

So, does the way Oklahoma dominated Kansas State on Saturday make things better or worse that the Sooners took the day off in losing to Texas?

One way to look at it is that it is better that the Sooners appear to have it together again and appear competitive enough to continue their run among the Big 12 contenders. It’s worse, though, realizing that if they had played against Texas they way they showed up at Kansas State, it’s a good bet OU would have made it two straight over Texas, still be in the top 10 and be 6-0 at the halfway point in the season.