For most of the contest on Saturday, Paul Thompson had another solid game. His decision making was good, as it has been all season. But the final result shows no touchdown passes, two interceptions and a 28-10 loss on the scoreboard.
Granted, the interceptions came when the game was already out of reach, so statistics don't tell the whole story. Still, Thompson was inconsistent in the passing game all day, missing some deep opportunities and throwing just slightly behind receivers on completions that could have gone for larger gains.
The biggest "mistake" he made probably came late in the first half, when he tripped up Adrian Peterson in the backfield on a third down play, forcing the Sooners to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown.
Thompson wasn't the reason the Sooners lost the game on Saturday, but he didn't provide the big plays needed against top ranked teams.
Adrian Peterson came out of the gate with fire in his eyes and seemed determined to single-handedly carry the Sooners to victory. But he soon found out, as did the entire Sooner Nation, that this Texas team was tougher - both mentally and physically- than OU.
Peterson ran hard the entire game and was victimized by his own second effort again when he was charged with the questionable turnover on a first half fumble. He could be faulted for not hustling after the screen pass that wound up being ruled a lateral for Texas' final touchdown.
Matt Clapp returned to the lineup and had a dropped pass in the first half. Brody Eldridge also got time at fullback and was guilty of a false start penalty, one of many for the Sooners.
The Sooner receivers took some heavy licks from Texas' hard-hitting secondary on Saturday and for the most part, handled it well.
But Juaquin Iglesias' crucial third-quarter fumble after a long reception was probably the play that realistically ended any chances of the Sooners making a comeback. Iglesias did have five catches for 69 yards and Manuel Johnson made his presence know with four clutch catches. Malcolm Kelly made a spectacular reception for 25 yards and was open on a couple of other occasions when Thompson couldn't connect with him.
Another blow to the Sooners' chances came when Joe Jon Finley's 40-yard reception was wiped out on a questionable offensive pass interference call. Other than that, Finley was held in check and received a couple of bone-rattling tackles by the 'Horns. Jermaine Gresham had the longest play of the day for OU, rumbling 41 yards with his lone pas reception.
Pass protection was excellent all day for Thompson, with the exception being a first half sack that took the Sooners out of field goal range. Run blocking was good in the first half, but the offensive line was manhandled in the second half by a much more aggressive Texas front.
What has to be taken into consideration in this game is the continuing problem with false starts on the offensive line. Several times, the penalties put OU in first and long situations, effectively putting the brakes on drives.
There's more to line play than just blocking. Until the unit develops the discipline to eliminate unforced errors, drives will continue to be short circuited.
After watching the defensive tackles get manhandled early in the game, it looked like the Sooners would once again give up chunks of yardage up the middle. But adjustments were made and outside of the opening quarter, the Longhorns didn't do much on the ground. In fact, the Longhorn's didn't do much offensively the entire game, gaining just 232 yards on the day.
C.J. AhYou had an outstanding game, and Calvin Thibodeaux and Stephen Coleman also provided big plays. The Sooners weren't able to rattle freshman quarterback Colt McCoy into mistakes, though, and McCoy was able to make big plays in the face of pressure.
It was a better performance than recent weeks, but not enough to get the Sooners over the hump.
Where are they? No game changing plays, no turnovers, no highlight reel moments. Much of the blame this year has been put on the Sooner front line, but the veteran linebacking corps has not provided the spark you would expect.
Pretty much an average performance by the unit that needs to bring excitement to a defense looking for leadership.
Everyone will focus on two plays that went for touchdowns and not look at the overall picture. Such is the life of the defensive secondary. Texas managed only 108 yards passing, but managed to come up with the big play when they needed it.
Once again, D.J. Wolfe was victimized on Texas' longest play of the day, the 33-yard touchdown to Limas Sweed that put them in front for good. An OU blitz left Wolfe man-to-man with Sweed, and the larger Horn receiver's push off provided the space he needed to make the touchdown grab. Nic Harris was the other victim, losing Jordan Shipley on the second Texas TD pass in the third quarter.
Just as big an issue as coverage is the failure of the secondary to get in position to create turnovers. OU failed to take advantage of the pressure put on the freshman McCoy in the first half. No coverage in crunch time and no takeaways leaves an empty feeling.
Other than Peterson's 59-yard kickoff return, which was shortened by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Alexander, the Sooners return game was quiet. Peterson showed his inexperience in running back kicks by fielding one in the second half that would have gone out of bounds.
Reggie Smith was a non-factor in the punt return game, almost giving up OU turnover number six when he was whacked by a Texas defender. Fortunately, special teams specialist Jacob Gutierrez was there to recover for OU.
OU's coverage was weak on the opening kickoff, but that was the only opportunity Texas had to return a punt or kickoff.
Michael Cohen and Mike Knall were effective in preventing any punt returns on the day. Garrett Hartley connected on his only field goal attempt.
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