Two fumbles, two opportunities to recover, and Miles would have been
pulling his hair out, but it is cut too short.
"Tatum should have just fallen on the ball,'' said Miles. "Darrent should
have just fallen on the ball. It's a big game. It's a game where they want to
make plays. Those are playmakers. They'll be coached and they are coached to
fall on that ball. And let's line up again."
As in sync as the Cowboys were in October, at least most of the time,
they were out-of-sync on the first of November. At halftime they had three first
downs and 43-yards of offense. They had three points thanks to a late first half
interception by defensive end Khreem Smith that he returned to the OU
16-yard-line, but after three plays, it resulted in a Luke Phillips 31-yard
field goal. Quarterback Josh Fields, sacked just eight times in the first eight
games, was sacked three times Saturday by OU defensive end Dan Cody,just in the
"The opp to throw the football effectively deals with protection," said
Miles. "Our quarterback was pressured most of the day. We thought we
could by calling quicker throws and some opp to get the ball out without holding
it a length of time. But those things become predictable, too."
The second half started out well enough as Darrent Williams attoned for
his punt receiving miscue by picking off Sooner quarterback Jason White and
returning the pick 11-yards for a touchdown, but a high snap caused a sloppy
hold which caused the first missed extra point of the season by
Phillips. The miscues kept coming as penalties, a high punt snap, more
sacks, and a tipped interception fueled the Oklahoma effort.
A microcosm of the entire game came late in the third quarter when Josh
Fields zipped a pass downfield toward his favorite target Rashaun Woods. Fields
threw the ball to the outside, but Woods had turned inside.
"In the second half we were pressing trying to make a play," said Fields.
"Honestly, I don't remember the play, but there were some passes I was throwing
just to get the ball away. I'd probably take the blame on that because I know
that Rashaun was just trying to make a play. We all wanted to make a play."
The Cowboys drove the ball right to down to the Sooner goal only to
be dismissed twice from the one-yard-line.
"It really is embarrasing to be down there and not get the ball in the
endzone," said center Ben Buie. "No excuses, we've got to be able to do that
Make no mistake, Oklahoma was the more talented team. They had a good
game plan, and they executed well, but the Cowboys chipped in with plenty of
contributions. Halloween was the night before, but the Sooners had saved all the
tricks and all the treats for Saturday afternoon. The 52-9 scoreboard in foggy
Norman provided OU head coach Bob Stoops and his team another trophy (Bedlam
Bell) and another postcard photo on their way to New Orleans and a Sugar Bowl
date to play for another national championship.
What really stunk for the Cowboys was how golden this opportunity would
look as the day wore on. Back in August they sat down to identify all their
goals with the first to win the Big 12 South Division, then go to Kansas City
and win the Big 12 Championship Game. The next aim was to head to a BCS bowl
game, if possible the Sugar Bowl and play for the national title. Help would be
needed if they had beaten Oklahoma, but the help was there on Saturday as
Virginia Tech slaughtered Miami, Georgia lost Florida, Michigan State lost to
Michigan. The Cowboys would have been in a good position.
Now the Cowboys will need a major regrouping and recovery during this
week to get ready for a revived Texas team and a Boone Pickens Stadium stand to
salvage the opportunity to take the last step up they can make. A win against
Texas would likely put the Cowboys in a New Year's Day bowl in Dallas, the
Cotton Bowl. It's not what they set their minds and heart on in August, but it
would represent a step up. A week of brooding over the debacle in Norman and a
loss to Texas would send the Cowboys to San Antonio, maybe back to Houston,
possibly to San Diego. This program now aspires to higher accomplishments, but
they learned in a rather rude fashion last Saturday that the trip up the ladder
has to be taken one step at a time. Texas represents a step the Cowboys might be
a lot better prepared to handle this season, as opposed to an angry, talented
Oklahoma team that has been ranked No. 1 all season.
"The only thing I can tell you is that everytime we take the field we
have the opportunity to win. That's how you approach it. I didn't want our guys
to do it any other way," Miles said.
"I'm certain that this will sting us,'' Miles said. "I'm not saying that
we will not regret the way we played. When you play a really good football team
-- a great football team -- you have to play with no reserve. You
can't afford to walk safely into the stadium, you have to risk it, and we
did. Today we were unsuccessful, but I think this is a resilient
group of guys. They know they're a good football team and have the potential to
put it together.''
"It hurts real hard," said defensive end Greg Richmond. "We were very
confident about this game, that we could come down here and get a victory. But
it didn't happen for us. What we've got to do is move on, put it behind us. It's
not going to determine our season."