Now, with the above statement given, this loss is absorbed by both players and coaches who were at fault on Saturday. Many people spent the remainder of the weekend casting blame on one or the other but the reality is that there's plenty to go around because this loss can be summed up as being the result of wasted opportunity, bad coaching, and poor execution. Here are four plays that exemplify exactly what I'm talking about.
The Punt - Wasted Opportunity/Poor Execution
Despite being down 14-0 early in the first quarter the Sooners were able to roar back on Trevor Knight's arm and Sterling Shepard's super powers. With the game knotted at 14-14, Oklahoma finally forced TCU to a three-and-out and the Frog's punted just after the start of the second quarter.
Having scored on their previous two possessions Oklahoma was in position to take control of the game. This drive, however, turned into a disaster. It lasted only three plays and had an offensive pass interference call that brought back a 12-yard pass from Trevor Knight to Blake Bell. The Sooners also burned a timeout on this possession because they couldn't get the play in on time and then came up three yards shy on a Knight third down run. Enter Jed Barnett who booted the ball a paltry 24 yards.
This drive was a wasted opportunity, but it was also poor execution on the punt. You just can't get 24 yards out of a punt in that situation.
The Pass - Poor Execution
It took TCU two plays to capitalize on Oklahoma's unfortunate punt. After running for seven yards on first down, Trevone Boykin hit a wide open B.J. Catalon for a 39-yard touchdown strike.
This play is going to come back up in this week's Anatomy of a Play series but let's just say for now that it was completely botched by the secondary. Strong Safety Quentin Hayes appears to be the guy who jumps the wrong route and leaves the deep outside third wide open. This was definitely poor execution!
The Passes - Poor Coaching
Oklahoma's opening drive of the second half was masterful. With a run/pass combination the Sooners chopped the TCU defense on an 11-play 80-yard touchdown drive that consumed 5:32 off the clock and gave OU a 31-24 lead. This was no doubt the Sooners' best offensive drive on the day and the "run/pass" combo was what keyed it. The eleven plays were broken up with four pass and seven running plays.
Unfortunately that was the end of Oklahoma's rushing attack on the day...and the end of the Sooners' offensive scoring as well. As much as Josh Heupel deserves credit for calling that opening drive, he also deserves credit for taking OU's mojo and throwing it out the door.
During Oklahoma's third, fourth, and fifth drives of the second half Heupel called ten pass and just one running play. The result of those ten passing attempts were two completions, one sack, and one interception that was returned for a touchdown. That pick ended up being the difference maker in the game.
Samaje Perine averaged 3.5 yards per carry against a loaded box and Trevor Knight averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Yet for the middle part of the second half they were not used at all. Where did Oklahoma's rushing attack go? Only Josh Heupel knows.
The Push...or lack thereof - Poor Execution
Despite everything Oklahoma found themselves in a position to win the game. They had the ball, deep in TCU territory, and just needed to convert on fourth and one. When the Sooners lined up at the Frogs twenty-two, to attempt the conversion, everyone knew where the ball was going.
I absolutely believe that this was the right play call. OU has an offensive line that has been touted as the best in the conference and said to be "NFL" sized. The Sooners also have one of the best bruising running backs in the country. Yet on fourth down, with the game on the line, from the opponent's twenty-two yard line they couldn't push their way to a one-yard gain.
Yes, Marcus Mallet (#54) shot the gap and performed the textbook "chop'em down" tackle on a big running back. Still, elite teams don't let that happen. Championship teams get that yard.
The Sooners were neither elite or championship caliber on Saturday, and that's an all-around statement that includes both players and coaches.