Cotton Bowl: Report card

ARLINGTON, Texas — Sooner Nation has had some time to reflect on OU's 41-13 season-ending loss to Texas A&M, and now Sooners Illustrated provides the grades.

Quarterback Landry Jones' final game: C

Jones had a great career at OU, but it certainly didn't end the way he wanted it to. The redshirt senior finished his career with a performance that featuring 35-of-48 passing for 278 yards and a touchdown, but an interception. That pick was costly, with him throwing it when OU had a chance to take the lead in the second quarter. He just wasn't quite as sharp as he needed to be, but that was far from the worst of the Sooners' problems.

Running game: C-

Running backs Damien Williams and Brennan Clay and the rest of the backs just couldn't really get it going. They couldn't ever consistently get to the second level and break a big run, something that would have tremendously opened up a somewhat stagnant offense. The group finished with a combined 123 yards, including 44 and 41 from Clay and Williams, respectively. Fullback Trey Millard added 23 on four carries.

Containing Manziel: F

Quite simply put: the Sooners made this guy look like the best quarterback they've ever faced. What Manziel wanted, he got. He juked and toyed with just about every Sooner defender, including the most sure-handed tackler of them all in free safety Tony Jefferson. Manziel finished with a Cotton Bowl quarterback record 229 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, while throwing for two more and 287 yards on 22-for-34 passing. He truly showed his legitimacy as the Heisman Trophy winner.

Red zone offense: D+

This is one of the biggest reasons OU lost this game, regardless of what the score may say in the second half. The Sooners had a couple of chances to get sixes early and instead settled for field goals. When they were inside the one on their first possession, the Sooners couldn't even get a ½ yard to tie the game up. Then, a penalty backed them up into a field goal try. Later a dropped pass by wide receiver Kenny Stills and one off Millard's fingertips led to another missed opportunity. Even the one time they converted a touchdown inside the red zone they had to earn it. Jones finally found wide receiver Justin Brown for the 6-yard touchdown on that one late in the first half.

Matching A&M's intensity: D-

From the onset, A&M looked the part of the aggressor, while OU was chasing from behind. It's hard to say a team didn't show up after working all week in preparation, but OU definitely made it look that way. More effort, coupled with better execution, would have led to better results. Nonetheless, that was not the case.

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