The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 14, 2013

Critical mishaps created conditions for Texas’ shocking upset

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“Their attitude and effort was stronger than our attitude and our effort throughout the course of today. That’s really what’s going to happen in a game like this. We’ve got to get our edge back and play better,” OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said.

Through six games, opponents have converted 35.6 percent (32 of 90) of their third downs against the Sooners.

The offensive problems, however, did not suddenly crop up Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. Over the last three games, the Sooners have converted just 10 of 40 third downs. In the first three conference games, it’s 10 of 43.

The inability to convert them is the biggest reason OU has combined for just four offensive touchdowns against West Virginia (1), TCU (2) and Texas (1).

At times, you can get away with some third-down struggles by converting some big plays. OU had few Saturday. Only three of its 59 plays went for more than 20 yards.

“In offensive football, you gotta have big plays. Your skill guys have to make big plays. Your quarterback has to be able to convert things on third down,” OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “At the end of the day, we didn’t do any of those things.”

Where that leaves the offense heading into this coming Saturday’s game at Kansas (2-3, 0-2) is up to the coaching staff.

But the performance in the Red River Rivalry showed how bad the problem can get and just how impotent OU’s offense can look because of it.

The Sooners simply cannot win if they cannot convert third downs. The defense might be improved, but Texas exposed them as a unit capable of giving up big plays.

The Sooners have to start putting some drives together. Saturday against Texas the overwhelming majority were wrecked once the yard marker flipped to third down.

John Shinn

Follow me @john_shinn

jshinn@normantranscript.com

 

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