Blame Houston for being prepared to return a missed field goal if somehow Austin Seibert missed his career-long – an attempt that was seven yards deeper than any kick he’d made in his professional career.
Blame Houston defensive back Brandon Wilson for having the wherewithal to know that he had just millimeters to stay in bounds went he high-pointed the miss in the back of the end zone and took off toward the right sideline.
Blame Seibert for messing up on his steps as he approached the 53-yard attempt.
Blame Oklahoma – and maybe that’s where the blame lies – for showing little effort to cover the return, as Wilson had to avoid just Mark Andrews and his fallen teammate on the way down the sideline.
There are plenty of areas to place blame, but in just a handful of seconds, Houston sapped all possible momentum from Oklahoma, which was trying to take the 20-19 lead with Seibert’s leg, and put a massive hurdle into Oklahoma’s College Football Playoff hopes in a 33-23 loss to Houston. The Sooners scored just once more after the Kick-6.
“Obviously, we need to practice it more,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “Definitely. Those are the backbreakers where you go from having a chance at three to losing and going down seven. That’s a big swing.”
Coverage units are never on the field to protect a field goal because usually they aren’t good enough blockers. So, it’s a handful of players who aren’t usually capable of running down a speeding defensive back – save for an even smaller handful of athletes like Andrews.
That’s Step 1 of the problem that Oklahoma discovered Saturday as Alabama discovered a few years ago against Auburn.
As Seibert approached the kick, he took an extra stutter step. He didn’t know exactly why he had the timing issue, but it might have taken a bit of power off the kick, which sailed straight to only come up a few feet short.
“We thought it was going in, which was probably the big deal,” Seibert said. “It was right there. We saw him catch it, and then just dispersed and did what we were supposed to do, trying to get him. It just didn’t work out for us.”
Seibert made a run for the sideline as did first year holder Connor McGinnis, but both were walled off by a colony of blockers. Oklahoma had half a dozen players who couldn’t even get into position to make a tackle.
“You know you have to cover it, but the personnel on the field isn’t the best cover guys,” said Stoops, who called a timeout just before the kick after the Sooners had just 10 players on the field. “Because the best cover guys wouldn’t be able to protect the field goal. You’re in a little bit of a dilemma. I don’t really second guess. I’ve seen Austin make that quite a few times. That’s what I mean at the field goal at the end of the half. It got to the right time and I was like, ’He can make this.’ I was wrong. Then we didn’t do a good enough job covering.”
Wilson hurdled over a teammate and evaded Andrews’ last-ditch effort to make the tackle with one hand while being blocked.
There were far more things to blame for Oklahoma’s loss than just a 10-point swing early in the second half. The end result is the same: A stain on No. 3 Oklahoma’s season, and one that could keep them out of the College Football Playoff.