Oklahoma's loss Saturday at Baylor wasn't quite the stunner that Texas Tech was earlier in the season, but there were a variety of factors that led to the 45-38 Bears win – that program's first victory against OU. Here are 10 reasons the Sooners lost their second game of the season.
1. The Great Griffin
There are very few quarterbacks in the country who could have engineered that last-minute drive the way Robert Griffin III did against the Sooners. He accounted for the final 76 yards (30 rushing, 46 passing) of a drive that took just 43 seconds against the tiring OU defense. His feet got Baylor into Oklahoma territory, and then a sensational throw brought the curtain down. Griffin is special. Oklahoma, among others, will be very glad to see him go.
2. Without a (safety) net
As good as Griffin is, he and his teammates had help. OU's defenders, and particularly its safeties, have been getting turned around all season. Saturday was the worst example yet, and the Sooners gave up a school-record yardage total. Six separate times, there was a Baylor receiver running free past the Sooners' secondary. The Bears had four plays of more than 50 yards. Oklahoma has been completely exposed against pass-happy offenses this season. There's one more left on the schedule.
3. Wait, bears are fast?
Then again, Baylor had to have receivers fast enough to get past the OU defense. Kendall Wright has a strong reputation around the league – and he backed it up, with a 200-yard game – but Tevin Reese and Terrance Williams are better than average. Credit Art Briles with finding these guys that fit well into his offense.
4. Ricochet play
Of the big plays Baylor sprung on the Sooners, let's give them a free pass on the deflection for an 87-yard score. Reese was well defended on about a 12-yard route. But Griffin threw the ball so hard that it shot forward 15-20 yards to a wide-open Wright, who ran untouched the final 45. Oklahoma had all the momentum at the time of the play. Just like that, it was gone. This was a clear sign it was Baylor's night.
5. Losing the battle – and the war
Oklahoma lost the turnover battle 3-0. The oh part is more significant than the three, in some respects. Baylor took care of the ball and didn't give OU's offense much help. The late touchdown drives were 77 and 75 yards. The Sooners twice had drives ended by careless turnovers, on Trey Franks' fumble (which Kameel Jackson had little interest in retrieving) and a poor throw by Landry Jones in the fourth quarter. Too many possessions, including those, got into BU territory without OU scoring any points.
6. Hammer down
Oklahoma lost containment on Griffin more in the second half than the first. It's no coincidence, surely, that the Sooners played the final two quarters without one of their best athletes – on the whole team. Losing defensive end Ronnell Lewis to a knee injury will hurt OU for the next couple of weeks, but a player like Lewis is missed most when facing a mobile quarterback like Griffin. Lewis, paired with Frank Alexander, is such a disruptive force. Take him out, and OU isn't the same sort of defense.
7. Missing Ryan Broyles
The Sooners scored 10 points in the first half against, let's face it, a pretty sorry Baylor defense. Surely, part of that was OU trying to adjust to not having Ryan Broyles on which to lean. Later in the game, you saw Dejuan Miller and Trey Franks begin to emerge. But, early on, the receivers not named Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds looked balky. Even Stills dropped a mid-length third-down pass that you figure Broyles would have snared. There was going to be an adjustment period without Broyles. That was only natural. OU seemed to snap out of it late.
8. Going AWOL
This was easily Oklahoma's least disciplined game of the season. It had seven penalties for 74 yards in the first half, alone. Baylor had four first downs on OU penalties, including a couple that helped the Bears get into scoring position. Another lack-of-discipline issue: Watch the two Terrance Ganaway touchdowns. Horrific tackling near the goal line. Almost looked as if the OU defense – which has been good all year up the middle – let up. That was uncharacteristic, for sure.
9. Ill-fated timeout
Think this would be higher? It's very easy in hindsight to criticize Bob Stoops calling the timeout in the final minute, giving Baylor an open door for the winning drive. But contextual evidence did suggest the Bears, with no timeouts, were running out the clock. And they were going against the wind, so a field goal would have been tougher. OU had stopped BU on consecutive possessions, as well. This is something a coach is beaten up about either way. If he didn't call the timeout and OU lost in overtime, it would have come up. So it goes. A better question: Why didn't Stoops try a field goal, with the wind, earlier in the fourth quarter on fourth-and-14 inside the 30-yard line? OU trailed by 14, yeah, but there was a lot of time left. Shouldn't Jones have at least forced a throw rather than thrown it away?
10. Wacky Waco
Stoops pointed out last week that Baylor had played far better at home than away. All of its three losses, he noted, were away from cozy Floyd Casey Stadium. It's not like the off-campus stadium – to be replaced in the not-so-distant future – is a college football cathedral. But, to Baylor, it's home. Low point total at home for the Bears this season? Forty-two. They've averaged 48.3 points a game in six home games, all wins. That's not a coincidence.