The Call That Crushed OU's Season??

WACO, Texas — Ultimately, games always come down to execution and who does it the best.

But as a coach, it's about putting your team in the right position to be able to do just that, and this time around head coach Bob Stoops just might have failed in that respect.

With 51 seconds remaining, the Sooners had just tied it up--quarterback Blake Bell recorded his fourth touchdown on the evening and place kicker Michael Hunnicutt booted through the extra point to notch the game at 38--and instead of being satisfied with another chance in overtime, Stoops got a little bit too aggressive and tried for the win in regulation.

The Baylor Bears were content to run the clock out and head to overtime, this all after quarterback Robert Griffin III had torched OU throughout the entire night and showed really no signs of getting stopped.

"Well we had a tie ball game, we had an overtime game," said Baylor head coach Art Briles. "We felt like we could get into it. The problem was we had 51 seconds and no timeouts, they had three timeouts. We knew we had to go 80 yards because they were kicking with the wind, we knew we'd start at the 20. We knew if we ran the ball then they'd call timeout, run the ball again, timeout, run the ball again, timeout.

"If you're not making a first down then you're punting with 42 seconds left and there's a chance they're going to get the ball down there on the 40 yard line, make two plays, kick the field goal and then you're in trouble."

See, that's essentially what Stoops' argument was after the game, and it's a valid one.

"Well, you got the wind, we had stopped them," Stoops said. "I think we were 3-of-13 in stopping them on third downs. I really thought, in the end, they would run it one more time, make us burn another timeout and then we had an opportunity on third down, you know, in which they were still backed up punting into the wind, opportunity to get a return, have one timeout, maybe have a chance for a field goal."

But Briles and the Baylor Bears had another thing in store: Griffin III.

And after that timeout, they had two downs to get just six yards. Not two downs to get 10 yards. Not two downs to get 15 yards.

Two downs to get an amount Griffin had no problem getting all night.

Stoops should have realized that.

Stoops should have realized his defense struggled all night.

And Stoops should have realized the guy who had torched them all night could do it just one more time.

But he instilled faith in his lackluster defense at an inopportune time that didn't work out.

"Disappointing, [we didn't get a stop] you know, from the stand point of me being a senior," said defensive end Frank Alexander. "It's my last go around. You don't get these [chances] much. I don't get this opportunity again to make up for it."

Knowing the Sooners were poised to use those timeouts because of the timeout after first down, Briles then unleashed the beast within, Griffin, to drop back and throw the ball.

Because of that, he was able to scramble and gain 22 yards, setting Baylor up for the late heroics.

See, Griffin could have beat the Sooners in overtime for a 25-yard pass, and OU still would have gotten an opportunity with the football.

In regulation, however, not the case.

Furthermore, if the Sooners were so dominant offensively in goal line situations with Bell, which they were all game, going for two in overtime would have been possible to convert.

Could Griffin have converted a 2-point conversion with the game on the line?

It's possible, maybe even probable, but at least the Sooners would have still got a chance with the ball.

Ultimately, Stoops took a calculated risk and one that was supported by logic but not by this game.

Say the Sooners were locked in a 17-17 tie and Griffin had only managed 200 yards on the night, facing that same second-and-6.

Then, him converting it would have been much less likely and the timeout would have been acceptable.

As it was, the game was tied 38-38 and OU's defense had been unreliable all night, minus two possessions in the fourth.

Why trust them then?

He shouldn't have.

Stoops and the Sooners should have lived with the fact that they were down 14 in the fourth, came back and had a chance to win it in overtime.

Instead, they got greedy and went for the win in regulation, and it backfired.

In a big way.

Now, OU's faced with salvaging its season with a Big 12 Championship after opening up the year as the No. 1 team.

Follow me at twitter.com/joeyhelmer10 or facebook.com/joeyhelmer.


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