Fox Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt ripped the Band-Aid off during Saturday’s Oklahoma-Texas broadcast.
Klatt mentioned OU’s subtractions, defections and youth in key spots and declared the Sooners’ 2020 season as a “rebuilding” year.
It’s a hard thing to hear when you’re using the “rebuilding” term for a program like Oklahoma, but just because something is hard to hear doesn’t make it any less true.
During a rebuilding year, you’re looking for improvement in areas like controlling the line of scrimmage. There is less of an emphasis on things like whether or not your best player is putting together a strong enough portfolio for Heisman Trophy consideration.
One area of improvement for OU: Forcing turnovers. After the Sooners began the fourth overtime with a touchdown, cornerback Tre Brown intercepted Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger to secure the Sooners’ 53-45 win over the Longhorns in the Red River Showdown.
First Takeaway: The Concept Of Time
Time is a social construct. Since the dawn of time, humans agreed that it had value and must be counted. We’ve basically took the baton and kept it going ever since.
For 52 minutes and 58 seconds of game action, the Sooners weren’t great but there was reason for optimism. They established a running game. Their defense stymied Ehlinger, the nation’s leader in touchdown passes (14) entering Saturday, and also turned the Longhorns over three times in all.
The Sooners’ inability to close out the game with a lead in the fourth quarter reared its ugly head once again. The Horns fought back to tie the game late on the ground thanks to two of Ehlinger’s four rushing touchdowns.
College football’s concept of overtime is perhaps a little too literal. Time is literally over. The clock is turned off. Both teams must then fend for themselves instead of abiding by a clock on a stadium scoreboard.
When time ceased, the OU offense was awakened. Rattler’s touchdown toss to fan favorite Drake Stoops in the fourth overtime was just enough to put the Sooners ahead to stay.
Second Takeaway: Special Teams Improvement
A special teams lapse on a kickoff return led to the Sooners’ undoing against Iowa State last Saturday night.
OU was much more effective on both ends of the kicking game this week, but there’s still room for improvement. The Sooners blocked a punt in the second quarter. A Marvin Mims third quarter punt return to Texas’ 30-yard line eventually led to a Sooner touchdown.
Perrion Winfrey’s blocked field goal in the third overtime may have been canceled out by what would have been a 31-yard game-winning field goal from Gabe Brkic had it not went left moments later.
The important thing is OU’s overall special teams play prevented them from experiencing a devastating third Big 12 loss in a row.
Third Takeaway: Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Turnovers On Offense
Is there a quarterback in America who is as confusing to watch as OU’s Spencer Rattler?
Rattler showed off his touch and talent when he scrambled forward and threw across his body to connect with Marvin Mims on a 30-yard touchdown in the first half.
Rattler also showed off his proclivity for committing silly and costly turnovers. With OU out in front 10-0, Rattler’s first interception led to a Texas field goal. A Rattler fumble on the Sooners’ next possession led to a game-tying touchdown for Texas.
T.J. Pledger found some space on a 25-yard run, but he had the ball punched out by Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai.
It was the Sooners’ third turnover in as many possessions, but the Longhorns didn’t cash in any points.
The good thing for Oklahoma is Texas isn’t much more competent than the Sooners.