All's not well that doesn't end well.
The Oklahoma Sooners, unable to overcome five interceptions thrown by quarterback Landry Jones, three field goal attempts missed by placekicker Tress Way, and bungled timeout management by head coach Bob Stoops, lost to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 10-3, in another tight game Saturday night.
The problem with Oklahoma's games for several years now is that they must be wound up. In that process, most end in victories, but the tight ones seldom conclude memorably. Unless bad memories are your thing.
"Great is the art of the beginning," wrote Thomas Fuller, "but greater the art of ending."
Held without a touchdown for the first time in the Stoops era, Oklahoma still seemed to control the game. The No. 20 Sooners outgained the Cornhuskers, 325-180, secured 23 first downs to Nebraska's seven, and ran 87 offensive plays to Nebraska's 57. But in the only statistic that finally matters, Oklahoma fell short.
The three points was the fewest in Stoops' realm.
Oklahoma (5-4, 3-2) traveled inside Nebraska's 35 yard line seven times. An array of mistakes—penalties, drops, interceptions, misused timeouts, missed blocks and missed field goals—stopped the Sooners six of those seven trips. Oklahoma was 0-3 on fourth down conversion attempts and 5-18 on third down tries.
Nebraska (6-3, 3-2) punted 11 times, but scored when it counted, on a one-yard pass from quarterback Zac Lee to tight end Ryan Hill. That tally followed the first interception thrown by Jones. There would be four more, each in Nebraska territory when Oklahoma had something working. Jones tied a school record with 58 passing attempts.
Oklahoma's defense was it's normal resolute self. However, it forced only one turnover for an offense desperate for a break it couldn't create on its own.
After the game, Stoops spoke of the wasted opportunities in the second half.
"Several of those drives in the second half we felt very positive. We were fairly consistently moving it. You've got to credit them, on third or fourth down, we had our opportunity, and they made plays, they covered us or pressured us or whatever it was to get out of it. That's where we needed to be better."
There is no middle ground. When the issue is being better in a close game, Oklahoma isn't well.