The Norman Transcript

October 29, 2012

Sliding, not spiraling

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Oklahoma’s loss to Notre Dame wasn’t that damaging in the polls. OU only sank four spots to No. 12 in the latest BCS poll released on Sunday night. The Sooners are also at No. 12 in the USA Today coaches poll. They did drop to No. 14 in the Associated Press Top 25.

This marks just the fifth time in the last 13 seasons OU has ended October ranked outside of the top six in the BCS standings. The Sooners were ranked sixth or higher entering the final month of the regular season in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011.

Goal unfulfilled: OU quarterback Landry Jones said one of the reasons he returned for his senior season was to win a national championship. The loss to Notre Dame means that this is a goal he won’t be able to obtain.

“Yeah, extremely disappointing,” Jones said Saturday night after throwing for 356 yards. ”That was one of the big reasons why I wanted to come back. I wanted to come back to get a chance to play for the national championship. Now that’s most likely gone. You never know. Yeah, it’s disappointing. But like I said, God has a much bigger plan for me here at this university, affecting guys on this team. I came back for a national championship, but maybe there’s something else he wants me to do for this university. We’re gonna see what that is.”

Too much time: Notre Dame’s offense was on the field for 19 minutes and 57 seconds in the second half Saturday night. The inability to stop Notre Dame from running the ball was the Sooners’ Achilles’ heel.

“They made some plays. We didn’t have great calls on a couple of them. That’s our fault as a staff, putting them in a little better position to make some plays,” OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “But we struggled with rhythm of the game, and a lot of that is credited to the quarterback (Everett Golson). And then their ability to run the football better than anybody we’ve faced, the way they run it.

“Our run defense wasn’t good enough tonight either. This is the first time somebody ran at us like this. We’ve got to make sure we’re doing the right things. We’ll see. I thought our kids played hard. We made them work. We gave up the two big plays, and they were monumental in the game. That’s disappointing.”

The mystique is gone: Owen Field had an electricity about it that doesn’t come along every night. There was a record crowd of 86,031 on hand. A lot of it had to do with the Sooners playing a highly ranked, historic program. But it also had something to do with the success OU has had at home as well. From 2002-2011, they lost at home just once. The Saturday night loss to the Fighting Irish was OU’s third home loss in the seven games, dating back to last season.

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