Ranked No. 3 in the nation and No. 1 in the BCS standings, the Sooners fell to 6-1 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12 Conference with Saturday's 36-27 loss at Faurot Field. They also fell to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 and the USA Today coaches poll, in addition to tumbling to ninth in the BCS standings.
But all is not lost.
Trying to figure out how the Sooners might get back into national championship consideration takes some serious doing. OU would have to win out, several other teams would have to lose, and still the Sooners would have to be very fortunate.
Less complicated, however, is how OU might reach the Big 12 championship game, a goal that remains in OU's complete control.
Also, if the Sooners can get there, they might well get a second shot at Missouri, which meets Nebraska this Saturday in what will essentially be for the Big 12 North.
Of course, getting there will require the Sooners playing so much better in so many areas. Their quarterback can't make so many critical errors and their defense must be much better, especially on third down and with its pass rush. Missouri's Blaine Gabbert faced almost no pressure against the Sooners.
One good thing?
The season doesn't get a whole lot less exciting.
A conference title is still out there, the emergence of so many true freshmen will continue and many more big games dot the schedule.
Next up is Colorado.
The Sooners couldn't ask for a better team in which to raise their confidence level.
--OU coach Bob Stoops is now 6-1 against Missouri. The Sooners still have a 66-24-5 all-time mark against the Tigers, including a 31-16 record in Columbia.
--RB Roy Finch continued his electric running, despite the loss to Missouri. The true freshman carried the ball nine times for 59 yards. He also caught two passes for 9 yards. With DeMarco Murray running for 49 yards on 12 carries, the Missouri game marked the first time Finch has led the Sooners in rushing yards.
--By allowing 486 yards of total offense to Missouri, the game marked the fourth time the Sooners had allowed more than 400 yards this season. Five opponents this season have outgained the Sooners.
GAME BALL GOES TO: DE Jeremy Beal -- He collected four tackles for loss against the Tigers, giving him 12.5 tackles for loss this season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Landry Jones -- Jones completed 32 of 50 passes for 303 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His interceptions were reminiscent of Jones' redshirt freshman struggles away from home a year ago, when his greatest issue was poor judgment. Jones must be better in three huge road tests still to come -- at Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "He just told us to keep our heads up. It's a long season, we still have a lot of football to play. We're in a great position. We are still number one in the South right now so we just have to keep winning out and hopefully we can be in the Big 12 Championship." -- Freshman RB Roy Finch, on Bob Stoops' postgame message.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Sooners only carried 25 times for 100 yards against Missouri, but much of that was as a result of being forced to throw while playing catch-up late. The emergence of Roy Finch and Trey Millard -- another true freshman who has become the first Sooner fullback in a long time to get regular carries -- along with seniors DeMarco Murray and Mossis Madu, leaves OU with horses and options in the running game.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The Sooners lost one fumble against Missouri. That came from Mossis Madu, who lost his second fumble in two games. Also, Landry Jones threw two interceptions, but of them very bad decisions, and he had additional throws that could have been interceptions. The Sooners have coughed the ball up four times in two games after leading the nation in turnover margin (plus-2 per game) heading into Oct. 16 game against Iowa State.
--P Tress Way had not kicked the ball well in the previous two games, and his first punt against Missouri went for just 36 yards. But Way came back with four punts beyond 50 yards and finished with a 47.8 average.
--S Quinton Carter was penalized 15 yards for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Missouri but otherwise had a huge game, recording a career-high 14 tackles.
--WR Ryan Broyles was reported to have missed a great deal of practice time due to a sprained ankle, and his left ankle was very heavily taped during the game. The junior still caught eight passes for 110 yards, moving to No. 2 on OU's all-time receptions list with 201. Mark Clayton is in front with 221.