Aside from individual miscues Saturday, Oklahoma battled breakdowns on a group level as well. These were the most damaging:
Run stoppersOklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables says there was no big mystery to why Colorado beat the Sooners Saturday. "I know how we lost. We let them run the ball,” he said. "That's it.” Colorado came in averaging 123 rushing yards per game, including a 359-yard performance last week. But on Saturday, the Buffaloes rushed for 161 yards on an OU defense that prides itself on stopping the run. "They started running the ball on us,” OU safety Nic Harris said, "and after that, they could do whatever they wanted.”
Offensive lineFor the first time this season, the OU blockers didn't look worthy of the preseason hype they received as one of the best lines in the country. The physically imposing front five struggled to open holes, especially early in the game. After the 7:31 mark of the second quarter, just two of 15 carries by OU running backs went for more than nine yards. Quarterback Sam Bradford was sacked once and pressured on other occasions.
Special teams coverageColorado averaged 26.6 yards per kickoff return and 21.8 yards per punt return. The Sooners also muffed a punt return at their own 16-yard line with 4:44 left to set up the game-tying touchdown and interfered with a Colorado fair catch. Poor coverage cost OU until the bitter end when CU's Chase McBride returned the final punt of the game 31 yards to the 50-yard line, setting up the Buffs' game-winning drive. "We didn't play very well obviously,” Sooners defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "We didn't play very well as a team today, whether we had foolish penalties at bad times, not taking advantage of field position, or giving up field position, and just not stopping the run.”
ConditioningLikely due to a combination of two things — the thin Colorado air and an even thinner time of possession by the Sooner offense — OU defenders said they wore down in the final quarter "We just got a little tired at the end of the game,” cornerback Reggie Smith said. "But it shouldn't matter.”