1. Why did it take a half for the Cowboys pass offense to produce?
Chalk it up to youth. Quarterback Donovan Woods has been outstanding as a freshman starting quarterback, but he has fallen into a pattern in conference play of slow starts that develop into sizzling second half performances. You could make a case that Woods has been better in the second half of every conference game, at least when it comes to passing. Woods was 2-of-8 in the first half for 13 yards, but he finished 8-of-20 for 207 yards and a touchdown.
"I think it's youth as much as anything," said OSU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Gundy. "It takes him some time to get comfortable. He'll get better at that as he matures."
"Donovan is a good quarterback," said OSU head coach Les Miles. "How can you deny that? When it is tight and tough, he is gold. He is on top of it."
"We made some plays and we were happy about it," said Woods of his play. "We just didn't make enough."
2. What happened on the two long runs by Adrian Peterson?
It is very simple. Peterson is a big, strong back who once he is in the open field has great speed. He simply broke tackles, including three on the 80-yard touchdown run. You can't miss tackles against a back like Peterson.
"They had big runs that shouldn't have happened," said defensive end Victor DeGrate. "They have a good offense, but those runs should not have happened."
Both runs came off tackle and not because Peterson got around the corner. The OSU defense did a good job of protecting the corner.
3. How did the offensive line play?
They played pretty well, but could have helped Woods get into his comfort zone a little faster with better pass protection in the first half. Woods was sacked twice by OU defensive end Jonathan Jackson. From the middle of the second quarter on they did an excellent job on pass protection and they kept OU All-American candidate Dan Cody completely quiet. The tackles and tight ends were especially adept at finding Cody and Jackson when they moved around.
"That's what I try to do every week is get out there and make the blocks that spring the running game," said tight end Charlie Johnson. "I try to focus on what is best for the team."
The run blocking was solid, but linebacker Lance Mitchell, who seemed to be shadowing Vernand Morency, was tough to get to. Mitchell finished with eight tackles including one for a loss.
"Those guys came in with a great game plan," said Vernand Morency.
"We came to play and we did what we needed to do," said offensive tackle Corey Hilliard. "It was a good defense that we played, and I feel that our offensive line showed up today and gave them a good fight. I am proud of the whole offensive line."
The line was again without redshirt freshman David Koenig at left guard. Corey Curtis played in his place against Oklahoma.
4. In what area do the Cowboys need to improve the most?
There is no doubt it would be pass rush. OU has a veteran and talented offensive line, but the need to pressure good-throwing quarterbacks is there. White was sacked late in the game by defensive tackle Clay Coe. The Cowboys need more and this is an area where maturity will pay off. Freshman Walter Thomas, sophomore Xavier Lawson-Kennedy, sophomore Brad Girtman, and the young defensive ends like Marque Fountain, Darnell Smith and converted linebacker Victor DeGrate have plenty of potential in this area.
5. What is the impact of the second loss of the season?
Honestly, other than falling behind in the Big 12 South race it shouldn't cause much fallout. OSU shouldn't drop in the polls, and the quality of the way the Cowboys competed should entice the people running the Holiday, Alamo and Houston bowls. Even the Cotton Bowl seems to be interested in a repeat appearance by the Cowboys.
Should we be concerned about a hangover against Texas? I don't think so, judging from the players as they left the locker room after the game. The hurt will go away, and the coaching staff and players will be able to take away the positives and the things that need to be corrected. Texas ought to help in getting the Cowboys attention shifted away from the OU game.
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