STILLWATER – This was supposed to be a national championship kind of season for Oklahoma. Bob Stoops said so in August.
The offense was supposed to lead the team there. The players said so in August.
Now they're here, Stoops and the Sooners, at this very low point awaiting an announcement for a middle-tier bowl game.
A devolving, unraveling, injury-filled regular season ended here Saturday night with a Bedlam debacle, a 44-10 Oklahoma State victory that didn't see Oklahoma score a touchdown until there were two minutes, 25 seconds left to play.
“They outplayed us by far. Far,” OU offensive lineman Gabe Ikard said. “As a season, as a whole, it was very, very disappointing. We really did embrace the No. 1 ranking at the start of the season.”
Nine wins and three losses for a team that had designs on 12-0 watched its rival storm the field and tear down the goal posts at Boone Pickens Stadium.
“Nine-and-three is obviously not acceptable at the University of Oklahoma,” Ikard said.
No one at OU's used to swallowing what happened Saturday night. Even the 10 points came with yeah-buts.
The Sooners' field goal was a 48-yarder to conclude the first half, only after a quickly-thrown-together desperation drive that made it 24-3 OSU.
And Stoops all but rolled his eyes at OU's only touchdown, a Blake Bell 28-yard run on his only carry of the night. Bell spent more time dozing than Belldozing.
“I don't even consider that a touchdown,” Stoops said. “They probably have their 2's and 3's in and we get lucky on a fourth-and-1 with, what, two minutes to go in the game.
“We didn't get any touchdowns today.”
In the Bedlam blowout, the worst loss to OSU since 1945, turnovers were particularly damaging. The Sooners lost the turnover battle, 5-1.
Landry Jones threw two interceptions and had two fumbles that led, directly and indirectly, to easy OSU touchdowns. Freshman running Brandon Williams also laid the ball on the turf.
Oklahoma had five first-half trips inside OSU territory. The first was a Jones pick on a jump ball in the end zone, an ill Jaz Reynolds boxed out by Brodrick Brown. The second was a punt. The third was a punt.
The fourth was the ballgame.
Jones was hit by Alex Elkins on a third-and-6 play at the 19-yard line — the deepest OU got until Bell's late score. Jamie Blatnick scooped and took the fumble return to the 1-yard line.
The Sooners went from trailing 10-0 and in position for points to down 17-0 after Joe Randle scored on the ensuing play. OU never recovered.
No one on the Sooners' side wants to lean too hard on it, as an excuse, but there's no question that Oklahoma lost some — or a lot of — fluidity after All-America receiver Ryan Broyles went down Nov. 5 with a season-ending knee injury.
“Your team's going to change when you lose the best receiver in the country,” Ikard said.
Jones, a Heisman contender entering the season and early in the season, has not thrown a touchdown since the game in which Broyles was hurt.
Production has decreased. Drops — the Sooners pushed 10 on Saturday after seven last week — have increased.
“It was poor,” Stoops said. “It wasn't nearly what it needs to be.”
The Sooners all credited Oklahoma State's defensive scheming. OU threw 38 times in the first half, to only 10 runs. Most of that, the players and coaches said, was dictated by OSU showing blitzes that forced OU to throw (unsuccessfully).
“It's not a very good job on our part as coaches,” Stoops said. “At halftime I brought that up. I said, ‘We've ran the ball 10 times, and we've threw it 38.' That's, you know, that's why you have what happened to us.
“Right at the end of the half is where it all broke down.”
Then? Or Nov. 5?