Oklahoma dropped out of the top 10 in both major polls following Saturday’s 48-45 loss to Texas.
Entering the game, fans of the program probably had dreams of a College Football Playoff appearance for the third time in four years. After the Red River Showdown, there are questions about winning a fourth consecutive Big 12 title.
Three things we learned following the No. 11 Sooners’ setback in the Cotton Bowl.
Numbers don’t lie
The defensive statistics are sickening to Oklahoma football fans.
Texas had season highs for points (48), total yards (501), passing yards (324) and first downs (27) against the Sooners.
Those numbers continued the Sooners’ freefall in the national statistics this week.
Out of 129 teams, OU ranks No. 96 in total defense (421.2 yards per game), No. 106 in passing defense (264.3 yards), No. 97 in third-down conversion defense (42.4 percent), No. 95 in fourth-down conversion defense (63.2 percent) and 124 at red-zone defense (tied for last with 0 stops, allowing 18 touchdowns and three field goals in 21 trips by opponents).
The Texas performance will sting for quite some time.
“Most of us were on different pages and you could see the frustration on the sideline,” OU cornerback Tre Brown said. “But we’re a team, we’re brothers and we picked that up very late. We should have been doing that the whole time. The second half, you know, we came together but we should have been doing that the whole game.”
Bye week comes at good time
After playing six consecutive Saturdays, the Sooners will get a week off before resuming the schedule with an Oct. 20 game at TCU.
The break comes at an opportune time for the team to regroup both physically and mentally.
“It’s been a tough six weeks. We have a young team. I think you saw a little bit of our inexperience show up in critical positions,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “I’m not gonna tell you what those are whatever, but it hurt us at times. That’s gonna happen as you get experience, you’re gonna have tough days. You’ve just gotta respond to them and hopefully we can get another shot at them here down the road.”
One thing is obvious about what the focus point will be over the next two weeks.
“Tackling,” cornerback Parnell Motley said. “We have to get better at tackling. Another thing is covering too. I don’t think I did a good job in the first half … I know for certain tackling.”
History may be on OU’s side
Oklahoma hasn’t lost back-to-back regular-season games since 1999.
In Bob Stoops’ first season, OU lost games at Notre Dame (34-30) and against Texas (38-28) in consecutive weeks.
This is Riley’s fourth year at Oklahoma. The team has lost five regular-season games and won in the following game. After a 2015 loss to Texas. The Sooners responded with a 55-0 victory at Kansas State.
“We have been as good as anybody in the country the last three years of responding to the very few losses we’ve had,” Riley said. “We got a track record right there that you could put up against any team in this country and that’s exactly what we expect to do again.
“It’s going to take a lot of effort, a lot of hard work. We’ve got to get better in a lot of areas, but we’ve got fight in that room. We’ve got a bunch of guys who are incredibly disappointed right now, but they will be ready to get back on the field here in a couple of weeks against TCU.”