Here are the Sooners’ 12 worst moments; this afternoon, I’ll release the best 12 moments.
1. JONES DROPS THE BALL (SEPT. 22 VS. KANSAS STATE, 24-19 LOSS)
Game clock: 12:28 left in the 2nd quarter
What happened: On third down — with OU at its own 13-yard line — senior quarterback Landry Jones rolled to his right instead of stepping up in the pocket. Kansas State linebacker Justin Tuggle caught Jones from behind, popped the ball loose, and Jarell Childs recovered it in the end zone to give KSU a 7-3 lead.
Implications: In a close game against a good team, mistakes like this one will always haunt the losing team. Oklahoma would retake the lead in the third quarter, but ended up losing 24-19. The loss ended up costing Oklahoma the Big 12’s automatic BCS berth, which went to the Wildcats.
2. TE’O DIVES FOR DEVASTATING PICK (OCT. 27, VS. NOTRE DAME, 30-13 LOSS)
Game clock: 4:34 left in the 4th quarter
What happened: With Notre Dame leading 20-13, Jones’ first-down pass bounced out of Jalen Saunders’ arms and was picked off by a diving Manti Te’o. The play is controversial because some believe Irish linebacker Dan Fox, who defended Saunders, was guilty of pass interference. Many folks are also unconvinced that Te’o made a clean interception.
Implications: Notre Dame added a field goal on its ensuing drive, and ultimately scored another touchdown to wrap up a 30-13 victory in Norman and preserve its undefeated season. The interception might’ve been exactly the moment Te’o needed to establish himself as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender.
3. GOLSON FINDS BROWN FOR 50 YARDS (OCT. 27, VS. NOTRE DAME, 30-13 LOSS)
Game clock: 8:27 left in the 4th quarter
What happened: Oklahoma had just tied the game at 13. Sooner fans were fired up and 100 percent back into the game. But on second-and-2 at the Irish’s own 35-yard line, quarterback Everett Golson found a wide-open Chris Brown deep down field; the successful post route picked up 50 yards to the OU 15-yard line.
Implications: The play sucked the energy right back out of OU’s stadium; five plays later, Notre Dame scored a touchdown to retake the lead, and went on to win 30-13.
4. JONES’ COSTLY THIRD-QUARTER PICK (SEPT. 22 VS. KANSAS STATE, 24-19 LOSS)
Game clock: 1:29 left in the 3rd quarter
What happened: The Sooners scored to take a 13-10 lead, then forced a Kansas State punt. But on a second-and-4 play from the Sooners’ own 22-yard line, Jones faked a handoff and, under fast pressure from a KSU defender, made a poor decision to throw off his back foot, over Kenny Stills’ head and into the arms of Kansas State’s Ty Zimmerman.
Implications: KSU scored seven plays later to retake the lead for good.
5. BELLDOZER BREAKS DOWN (SEPT. 22 VS. KANSAS STATE, 24-19 LOSS)
Game clock: 9:35 left in the second quarter
What happened: With Oklahoma trailing 7-3, Damien Williams rushed to the KSU 1-yard line to bring on the Belldozer. KSU called a timeout, and when Bell returned, he didn’t keep his eye on the snap and fumbled it, resulting in a costly turnover.
Implications: K-State took the ensuing possession and turned it into a field goal, increasing its lead to 10-3.
6. CIERRE WOOD’S 62-YARD TOUCHDOWN RUN (OCT. 27 VS. NOTRE DAME, 30-13 LOSS)
Game clock: 6:33 left in the first quarter
What happened: Oklahoma led 3-0 when Cierre Wood took a handoff and went right through Oklahoma’s defense untouched for a 62-yard touchdown.
Implications: Notre Dame took a 7-3 lead and never trailed the Sooners again.
7. SOONERS STUNNED BY EARLY PUNT-BLOCK TD (SEPT. 1 AT UTEP, 24-7 WIN)
Game clock: 9:08 left in the first quarter
What happened: Oklahoma picked up one first down on its opening drive of the season before lining up to punt. UTEP’s punt block team overwhelmed Tress Way’s protection, and the Miners’ Richard Spencer blocked the kick. Nathan Jeffery picked it up and ran it in to give the Miners an early 7-0 lead.
Implications: The touchdown wound up being UTEP’s only score of the night, but it wans’t Jeffery’s only big play. The first drive of the season ending with UTEP blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown was a pretty stunning turn of events.
8. SMITH-TO-BAILEY CAPS 3-PLAY, 92-YARD TD DRIVE (NOV. 17 AT WEST VIRGINIA, 50-49 WIN)
Game clock: 3:00 left in the fourth quarter
What happened: Oklahoma took a 44-43 lead, and West Virginia was forced to begin its ensuing drive on its own 8-yard line. Tavon Austin rushed for 47 yards, then five, before Geno Smith hit Stedman Bailey for a 40-yard, go-ahead touchdown. Bailey beat both Aaron Colvin and Tony Jefferson deep downfield for the score.
Implications: The Sooners’ next touchdown drive took enough time off the clock to prevent any more West Virginia magic, but the Mountaineers finished the game with a stunning 778 yards of total offense. Bailey caught 13 passes for 205 yards and four touchdowns.
9. AUSTIN’S POST-HALFTIME STUNNER (NOV. 17 AT WEST VIRGINIA, 50-49 WIN)
Game clock: 14:29 left in the third quarter
What happened: Oklahoma led 31-17 at halftime, but on the Mountaineers’ second play from scrimmage after the break, Tavon Austin took a handoff, made a few moves and took off down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown run.
Implications: Austin would finish the game with 21 carries for 344 yards, adding runs of 56, 54 and 47 yards before Oklahoma escaped with a narrow 50-49 victory.
10. 2ND STRAIGHT POST-HALFTIME STUNNER (NOV. 24 VS. OKLAHOMA STATE, 51-48 WIN)
Game clock: 15:00 left in the third quarter
What happened: Oklahoma rallied from a 17-3 deficit to a 24-24 halftime tie, but Oklahoma State shocked the Sooners right after the second-half’s opening kick. Clint Chelf rolled to his right and hit Stewart, who came across the middle from his slot position, got behind the OU safeties and sprinted to a 75-yard, go-ahead touchdown.
Implications: OSU took a 31-24 lead and stole some momentum right out of the gate in the second half. Oklahoma rallied again to tie the game at the end of regulation, and Brennan Clay’s 18-yard touchdown run in overtime sealed the Sooners’ Bedlam victory.
11. JEFFERY BREAKS FREE (SEPT. 1 AT UTEP, 24-7 WIN)
Game clock: 6:24 left in the third quarter
What happened: The Sooners led 10-3 but had UTEP pinned on its own 3-yard line. Miners running back Nathan Jeffery took a zone-read handoff and Sooners defensive end Chuka Ndulue crashed to the inside instead of staying home, allowing Jeffery to break away for a 71-yard gain.
Implications: The Miners didn’t score on the drive, and Jeffery only recorded one more carry before leaving the game injured. He ended up with 21 carries and 177 yards without playing at all in the fourth quarter. I’m not saying UTEP would’ve beat OU had Jeffery stayed healthy, but it might’ve made the game a lot more interesting.
12. FORMER COMMIT STRUTS HIS STUFF (DEC. 1 AT TCU, 24-17 WIN)
Game clock: 9:44 left in the third quarter
What happened: With Oklahoma leading 21-7, TCU receiver Brandon Carter ran a post route between several Sooner defenders and was hit in stride by quarterback Trevon Boykin. Carter — originally an OU commit who switched because he wanted to play receiver, not defensive back — sprinted to an 80-yard touchdown to bring the Horned Frogs within a touchdown of the Sooners.
Implications: Oklahoma ended up holding TCU off, 24-17, but the Horned Frogs drove into Sooner territory late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game. Carter’s touchdown was a stark reminder of the past two weeks, when Oklahoma narrowly escaped shootouts with victories but allowed a stunning number of big plays.