In a couple of days, we're going to reach the fourth anniversary of this blog's entry into the digital world the week of, coincidentally enough, the 2011 OU game. In those four years, we've had mercifully few opportunities to deconstruct losses, although the ones we've experienced have been notable and crushing. Tonight, we get to do that again.
Baylor lost arguably the biggest game in the Art Briles Era tonight to a team that we've dominated each of the last two years. That team came out, took our best shot, rebounded, and then gave us a few shots back that we simply couldn't withstand. Already without Seth Russell and limited by the rain early, then suspect play-calling after that, the normally dominant offense was anything but against the Sooners. The defense's problems, already well-documented from past games, reared up again when we couldn't stop a mobile QB in Baker Mayfield and then gave up too many big plays to Samaje Perine and Sterling Shepard. Over time, we just got mauled on both sides of the ball until a combination of injuries (Byron Bonds, Beau Blackshear, Andrew Billings, Chance Waz, and Orion Stewart all missed either some or all of the game) and ineffectiveness (I won't name namesl) finally did us in.
When you really boil it down, this game was about two things: 1) our offensive line getting outplayed by OU's defensive line, and 2) our defensive weaknesses getting exposed earlier in the season and then taken advantage of tonight. I could probably include a third related to conservative play-calling designed to protect Jarrett Stidham, but that same conservativism, if truly a problem in this game, also proved justified considering Stidham actually got hurt. I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention OU completely shutting down Corey Coleman.
I never honestly expected that Baylor would go through this entire season undefeated. Our schedule was just too much of a gauntlet in November for that to be reasonable, and then when Russell went down against Iowa State ... it wasn't happening. But I will say I didn't expect it to be tonight, against Oklahoma, on the home field where we've never lost. We went from the high of GameDay this morning to the low of what we're feeling right now.
Oklahoma deserves credit for bouncing back from their loss against Texas to run off an impressive streak of wins and put themselves right back in the thick of the CFB Playoff. Now, we'll have to try to do the same thing, although I think we all realize that a loss this late, with our non-conference schedule, probably means those dreams are gone.
People are going to respond a bunch of different ways tonight and in the days to come. Losses bring out the best in some people and the worst in others, and as I mentioned above, we as a community haven't really had many chances to deal with that reality.
From my perspective, the worst part of losing is that it completely obviates everything good that may have happened. Right now, I'd love to be writing about how our injured true freshman QB managed to power through it and give his team a chance, or how LaQuan McGowan caught his third TD. But those things don't seem to matter when you lose, and we lost. So we'll have to deal with that before we get to anything else.
That's all I've got for now. There may be more later.
|3rd down efficiency||9-17||8-16|
|4th down efficiency||0-1||1-1|
|Yards per pass||8.5||10.0|
|Yards per rush||4.5||3.6|