Originally Published: Sep 5, 2009 10:4 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas – Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford went down with a shoulder injury on the last play of the first half, and the Sooner offense sputtered on the way to a 14-13 loss in their season opener against BYU.
Bradford’s replacement – redshirt freshman Landry Jones – completed six passes in the second half for 51 yards. But Jones’ biggest mistake had nothing to do with his passing.
With OU up 10-7 in the fourth quarter and in possession of the ball inside the BYU one-yard line on fourth down, Jones allowed the play clock to expire for a five-yard penalty. The Sooners were forced to kick a field goal instead of going for the touchdown, and held a 13-7 lead.
BYU senior quarterback Max Hall then led a sustained drive that took almost nine minutes off the clock and ended in a touchdown pass to put the Cougars up 14-13, their first lead of the game.
BYU’s ensuing kick went out of bounds, giving Jones a shot at leading a game-winning drive in the final minutes. However, a dropped pass in Cougar territory forced redshirt freshman Tress Way – who had been punting previously – to attempt a 53-yard field goal. Way’s attempt fell wide and short, and the Cougars ran out the clock for the win.
The biggest question mark for the Sooners coming into the game was their offensive line, which struggled all day. They committed three false start penalties on the first drive of the game, and had several holding calls that routinely forced the offense into third-and-long situations.
The linemen also had trouble picking up BYU’s blitz schemes, and frequently allowed free hits on the quarterback. One of those hits sidelined Bradford, who suffered an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder that could sideline him for the next few weeks.
The loss is the Sooners’ first in a season opener since 2005, when they lost 17-10 to TCU. OU also lost its offensive leader – running back Adrian Peterson – to injury in that game.
The Sooners will now try to recover in their home opener Sept. 12 against Idaho State. The toughest game they will play in the coming weeks will be Oct. 3 on the road against Miami, a game that Sam Bradford may miss.
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