Oklahoma Football: Sooners Suffer First Loss, What Does It Mean?

Billy RayCorrespondent IOctober 24, 2010

MU quarterback Blaine Gabbert tore up the Sooners with his passing and a few timely scrambles.
MU quarterback Blaine Gabbert tore up the Sooners with his passing and a few timely scrambles.Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Sooner fans have now reluctantly come to grips with the fact that last nights' game against an undefeated Missouri Tigers football team was not just a bad dream. OU really lost and did not look good in the process.

While the Oklahoma offense moved the ball pretty well for the most part, it was costly mistakes in the red zone and on special teams that ultimately cost them the game and their all-too brief stay atop the BCS rankings.

The Sooners easily let at least 15 more points get away from them that they should have been able to capitalize on. To recap:

OU had two costly turnovers inside the MU 20-yard line, one a Landry Jones interception on a screen pass and another when senior running back Moses Maddu fumbled yet again after catching a swing pass and fighting for yards.

Just to be conservative, let's say they get stopped short of the goal line but do convert chip-shot field goals. That is six points right there.

Another drive was stopped short of the goal line when normally sure-handed receiver Ryan Broyles dropped a Jones pass in the end zone. The ensuing field goal attempt, coming from about the same spot as an extra point, was no good. Another seven points squandered.

After scoring their final touchdown on a Trey Millard fullback dive from three yards out, Bob Stoops elects to go for a two-point conversion that goes through the receiver's hands in the end zone and is caught on the deflection by Broyles but is ruled incomplete when the tip of the ball grazes the turf. Two more points lost and now OU trails by nine points with the clock running down.

Add in the opening kickoff return for a TD only seconds into the game and OU really gave away 22 points to an undefeated Missouri team hungry for respect on their home field.

I'm not sure any team could have come away with a victory playing the way the Sooners did. They blew opportunities and shot themselves in the foot repeatedly.

Oklahoma turned the ball over three times and the Tigers capitalized by scoring 10 points off these takeaways.

While the defense did not play very well themselves, they did keep the Sooners in the game for the most part. Two of MU's scores were the direct result of turnovers giving them the ball deep in Oklahoma territory.

That said, there were many times the players were looking to the sidelines for answers on defense that did not appear to be forthcoming from coordinator Brent Venables.

Bob Stoops should not be blamed for going for two late in the game to pull OU within seven. It was the right call. He needed to know ASAP if his team needed an extra possession to win the game or if two touchdowns along with a two-point conversion would tie it up.

A better question to ask is why offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson seemed to abandon the running game when Murray and Finch were gashing the Tigers for yardage for a good part of the game.

While the Sooners committed too many costly mistakes to win this game, the season is not lost. There are still a lot of games to be played and anything can happen but Oklahoma can still win the Big 12.

If they take care of business the rest of the season, including winning road games at Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State, they will represent the South division against the winner of the North, most likely Missouri or Nebraska.

Either of these games would be highly anticipated. Revenge against the Tigers or defeating Nebraska in the last Big Red matchup for possibly many years would go a long way to erasing the stinging memory of this bitter defeat.

And, who knows? If the season unfolds like the 2007 season, when a two-loss LSU team played in and won the BCS Championship game, the team in Crimson and Cream may still get a shot at that crystal ball after all.

Stranger things have happened.