WACO, Texas — David King trudged across the turf, then pumped his fists in a fit of frustration without ever breaking stride.
Gabe Ikard stood motionless on the field as celebrating Baylor fans zigged and zagged around him.
Brennan Clay knelt on the sidelines after his teammates had gone to the locker room.
Try as they might to come to grips with what happened Saturday night at Baylor, Oklahoma players are sure to be left with aggravation and agitation for a long time to come.
Baylor 45, OU 38.
On a night the Sooners had a chance to leap to No. 3 in the BCS rankings, they instead find themselves completely out of the national championship picture.
“It's difficult to go through a year,” Sooner coach Bob Stoops said. “Look around the country. Not many teams are undefeated.”
But no one said the Sooners had to be undefeated. Win at Baylor, and OU would've been squarely in the hunt for a spot in the Big Bowl. Beat the Bears like they have every other time they've played them, and the Sooners would've overcome that loss to Texas Tech and set up a win-out-and-play-for-a-title scenario.
But now with two losses against them, the Sooners would need complete and total implosion by so many teams that it's a scenario that's impossible to fathom.
“Our goal of winning the Big 12 championship is still out in front of us,” Sooner quarterback Landry Jones said.
But this was a season that started with the Sooners own head coach talking about it being about time for his team to win another national title. He set high the bar. He made lofty the expectations.
Now, his team will end the season instead clawing to scrape together a conference title.
This season was supposed to be so much more.
And it could've been even after Friday night brought a serious problem — an Oklahoma State loss.
After OU lost to Texas Tech, the thinking went that the Sooners needed to win out and face an undefeated Cowboy team in Bedlam to have a chance to play for the national championship. When OSU lost at Iowa State, that equation was thrown out of balance.
But then Saturday came along. No. 7 Clemson lost at N.C. State. No. 4 Oregon lost to USC.
That meant that OU had a chance to jump to No. 3 behind LSU and Alabama. And with those other losses, there was a good chance that OSU was only going to fall to No. 6 or 7 at the worst.
That meant that OU had a chance to put a win against No. 22 Baylor and No. 6 or 7 OSU on its resume.
Win those games, and the Sooners had a legitimate chance to jump the Crimson Tide at the end of the season.
But OU looked off all night. The defense got burned repeatedly. The offense got penalized too often.
No one ever got in sync.
After the Bears took a two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter, the Sooners looked dead in the water. No life on offense. No spark on defense. When a fruitless drive ended with a Jones incompletion on fourth down from the Baylor 25-yard line, many of the OU fans who packed Floyd Casey Stadium started heading for the exits.
But then the OU defense got a stop and the OU offense scored a touchdown.
Momentum swung toward the Sooners, and you started to think that maybe these Sooners had a little magic. Reserves like Brandon Williams and Dejuan Miller and Trey Franks were making big plays. That had to be a sign.
After the defense made another stop, the offense marched 77 yards in 10 plays and capped the drive with the Belldozer and a Blake Bell 6-yard run.
The power-run formation was working so smashingly that the Sooners decided to go for the two-point conversion. Why not? Six times that they'd used it, they'd gotten into the end zone on five of them.
But a false-start penalty forced them to kick the extra point instead.
Maybe that was the bigger sign of what kind of night it was and what was to come.
Baylor got the ball on its own 20-yard line with 51 seconds remaining, but a couple of Robert Griffin III runs put the Bears in Sooner territory.
“We were just trying to get in field-goal range,” Griffin said. “But we just started picking up chunks of yards.”
And with less than 10 seconds remaining, Griffin found Terrence Williams in the back corner of the end zone. He was behind two Sooner defenders, a place that the Bears receivers found themselves often Saturday.
“I just threw it up,” Griffin said, “and he made a great catch.”
Touchdown. Ball game and title hopes over.
“In the end, I felt our team came in prepared,” Stoops said. “At the end of the day, they coached better than we did and they played better than we did.
“We fought back, but at the end, they made a few more big plays that we did.”