The Norman Transcript

Sports

October 13, 2013

Sooners come up short where it matters most

DALLAS — Blake Bell was terrible. On third down, anyway, so was Oklahoma’s defense. 

The referees did OU few favors. And, just maybe, the Sooners had been playing with fire far too long, winning with heart, but with less-than-their-best performances at Notre Dame and, last week at home, against TCU

Of course, none of that was the greatest indictment of what happened Saturday afternoon at the Cotton Bowl, where a not-very-intimidating band of Longhorns embarrassed OU 36-20.

Instead, the greatest indictment was far more basic. The greatest indictment was Texas wanted it more.

Sooner coach Bob Stoops liked what his team had done all week in practice, felt good about his team on his way into the stadium. Yet, for all the answers he might have offered about the possibility his players were blinded by overconfidence, the one he put forth was most damning:

Ask them.

“I can’t speak for them,” he said. “At the end of the day, these are all young people … In all competitive arenas there’s a fine edge between what somebody’s listening to and what their mindset is when you have to go compete. I’m not going to say we were (overconfident) but at the end of the day, they played a lot better than we did.”

The Sooners being there but not there is the only answer that works. It’s the only explanation.

Defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue was asked if anything about the Texas’ run game, which carried the ball 60 times — 60 times — for 266 yards, surprised him.

“We were driven back,” he said. “That’s pretty much it.”

This is a Texas team that allowed 550 rushing yards to BYU, 391 less than the Cougars rolled up against Utah State, yet OU managed just 130 and 26 of that on a single carry from Sterling Shepard, a wide receiver.

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