NORMAN — Zac Robinson limped off the Owen Field turf.
So did his team.
The Oklahoma State quarterback made his way slowly toward the locker room Saturday afternoon in the moments after another Bedlam beatdown. His ankle was throbbing. His shoulder didn't feel too hot either.
Nothing hurt worse, though, than his pride.
Robinson and the Cowboys were shutout, 27-0. They sputtered to only 109 total yards of offense. They stalled with no third-down conversions.
"It's very frustrating," Robinson said. "Obviously, we are not used to playing like that offensively."
No one struggled more against Oklahoma than the senior signalcaller.
Playing so well before being slobber-knockered at the end of the Texas Tech game, Robinson returned to the field Saturday after sitting out last week. But he did not return to form.
His stat line: 9-of-21, 44 yards, one interception.
Some of struggles can be chalked up to the Sooner defensive linemen who spent much of the afternoon in his lap. Rare were the times Robinson dropped back and actually had time to throw before Frank Alexander or Adrian Taylor got to him.
The Sooners only had two sacks and three quarterback hurries, but they forced Robinson's hand at least a dozen other times.
"I thought that our guys up front played with great awareness," Sooner defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. "They stayed in front of the quarterback as opposed to a year ago when we let him run around at will and beat us with his legs."
Robinson didn't do that this time around. He had minus-6 yards rushing.
His longest run of the day came on the second play of the game, an 11-yard burst that might have changed the 2009 edition of Bedlam.
Robinson sprained his right ankle on the play.
By the end of the game, it was swollen up like an orange, and by the time he reached postgame interviews, it was wrapped tightly but still causing him to hobble around.
No doubt some of the swelling happened when Robinson was standing on the sideline the final eight and a half minutes of the game, but if it ballooned that quickly, it wasn't in good shape during the game. It had to slow him. It had to hamper him.
Ditto for his shoulder.
Cowboy coaches admitted that Robinson's right shoulder wasn't completely healthy. It was the one that was dislocated in the Holiday Bowl a year ago, then was crunched again in that hit against Texas Tech. It was the reason he didn't play against Colorado, and while it was better against OU, it was still hurting.
Had to be.
How else to explain some of the playcalling?ï¿½It was reminiscent of the day Pat Jones took an OSU squad to Nebraska and trotted out a three-runs-and-a-punt strategy. It didn't work that day in 1984 against the Cornhuskers, who won 17-3, and it didn't work Saturday against the Sooners.
The run-pass mix that the Cowboys have featured in recent years just wasn't there.
That was never more evident than after OU went ahead 20-0 late in the fourth quarter. OSU got the ball at its own 28-yard line down three scores with a limited amount of time.
The Cowboys' play selection: Kendall Hunter up the gut on first down; Hunter up the gut on second down; Robinson pass that fell incomplete on third and long.
I understand that there's a difference between sticking to the game plan and getting desperate, but the Cowboys were more conservative than a Pat Robertson rally.
The coaches brushed off talk that Robinson's health affected their game plan.
"Zac was throwing the ball fine, running the ball fine," co-offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said.
The quarterback was equally evasive about his health.
"I don't really want to talk about it," he said. "At the end of the year, there's always injuries. I felt alright coming into the game. We just couldn't get it done."
That shortcoming hurt Robinson more than any of his ailments. More than his shoulder. More than his ankle.
He had one last chance to score a Bedlam victory, and instead of triumph Saturday afternoon, he had one of the worst games of his career.
"Everybody felt good, everybody felt confident like we were going to win this game," he said.
He shook his head.
"It just didn't go our way."