NORMAN — There were 141 plays from scrimmage in Oklahoma’s 36-20 loss to Texas. But in truth there were 33 plays that were really the difference.
Those were the amount of third downs in the game. It was third down where OU repeatedly lost on both sides of the ball.
The Sooners converted just 2 of 13. Texas went 13 for 20.
“Obviously, third-down conversions were not good for us, and just simply moving the football,” OU quarterback Blake Bell said. “We need to be better at getting positive plays on first and second so we stay out of as many 3rd-and-longs and 3rd-and-mediums as we can. Overall, we did not play well as an offense.”
Running the ball more effectively and more frequently would obviously help. OU faced third-and-six or longer on seven of those third downs.
But Bell was at his worst Saturday in third-down situations. He completed just one of eight passes on third down for 12 yards. The only completion caused the chains to move. He hit running back Brennan Clay for 12-yard completion on OU’s first possession.
But he also threw a pair of third-down interceptions — one of which was returned for a touchdown — and was sacked three times.
Texas didn’t have those problems.
Quarterback Case McCoy was at his best in those situations. McCoy threw for 190 yards on the day, but 129 yards came on third-down completions. He was 8 for 10 in those situations. He did have one pass picked off by OU defensive end Geneo Grissom that was returned 54 yards for a touchdown, but McCoy also hit Marcus Johnson for a 59 yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.
As far as the Sooners’ defense is concerned, there’s a chance the third-down struggles can be written off as having an awful day.