Any chance of the Sooners playing themselves back into the Big 12 championship picture or a berth in a BCS bowl game went out the door in an emphatic way in a 41-12 loss to sixth-ranked Baylor at Floyd Casey Stadium.
There were several camera shots of Stoops looking dejected or shaking his head. His offense ineffective. His defense run down from having to make one stop after another. A picture of domination and the statement Baylor was hoping to make with a national audience watching.
"Outplayed and outcoached," Stoops said. "When I say that, I mean all of us."
It didn't start that way. OU only trailed 10-5 with 4:13 left in the first half. The vaunted Baylor offense was being contained by timely blitzes and cornerbacks rising to the challenge facing one-on-one situations.
But when the teams went to the locker room, the Bears (8-0, 5-0) had taken a commanding 24-5 lead, and the wind was out of the sails for the Sooners (7-2 overall, 4-2 in Big 12).
"That was tough," OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. "I thought our kids competed hard. That stretch was really the deflating part of the game for me personally."
OU had Baylor pinned deep in its own territory, but an offside penalty gave the Bears another chance on third down that they took full advantage of. A couple of minutes later, Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty scored his second rushing touchdown of the quarter with 1:00 left in the half.
Instead of sitting on the ball and accepting a 17-5 deficit at half, the Sooners wanted to make something happen. They did but in the wrong way as Blake Bell was intercepted, leading to another Bears touchdown with 13 seconds left.
"Thought we had a very safe play called there," OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said.
OU was gashed for 255 yards rushing. But it wasn't Lache Seastrunk. It wasn't Glasco Martin. Third-string running back Shock Linwood rushed 23 times for 182 yards, while Petty added 45 yards and his two scores. Petty accounted for five touchdowns.
"They ran a lot more out of the spread sets than they had before," Mike Stoops said.
After making some strides against Texas Tech, Thursday was a massive step backwards for the OU offense.
OU rushed 34 times for 98 yards. Senior running back Roy Finch was the only Sooner to accumulate more than 20 yards going for 36 yards on seven attempts. He also had OU's only touchdown on a 10-yard reception in the third quarter.
Bell was 15-of-35 for 150 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. The Sooners also brought in quarterback Trevor Knight for a change of pace but that didn't result in anything too positive with five carries for 17 yards.
It's clear OU is missing Trey Millard, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL, and it's also clear there is no easy answer.
"I'm not going to put it on that," said Bob Stoops about the lack of run game success being because Millard is out. "We'll assess everything Saturday and Sunday."
It won't be a pretty Saturday and Sunday.