NORMAN — Robert Griffin took the snap, felt pressure and rolled left. Then, looking right, he set his feet and fired the ball toward the back corner of the end zone.
There, waiting for it with no Oklahoma defender within an arm's length of him was Terrance Williams.
Baylor dubbed it “The Game Winner.”
For OU, it was “The Program Changer.”
While that play is the lasting image of the Sooners' loss to the Bears — and the ultimate Heisman Trophy highlight for RG3 — it had lasting effects on this program. It likely led to the departure of Willie Martinez. The demotion and ultimate departure of loyal sidekick Brent Venables. The return of brother Mike. It was upheaval like we've never seen in the Stoops Era.
Those Bears left scars on the Sooners.
That's because in a sport where little is certain, one constant was that OU beat Baylor. Twenty times, they had played before last season. Twenty times, the Sooners had won.
That winning streak ended last season.
“It was tough,” Sooner tailback Brennan Clay said. “They played well ... and Robert Griffin was a beast.”
Even though the Bears needed an out-of-this-world performance to end the Sooners' winning streak, that loss still felt like the bottom of a slow but steady downward spiral for OU. The Sooners hadn't played for a national championship since 2008 and had lost five of six BCS bowls, dating back to the 2003 national championship game.
They had lost their edge.
Many fans overlooked those sins because, well, it's hard to argue with 10 or 12 wins every year.
But losing to Baylor?
Baylor scoring 45 points, amassing 616 yards and winning on a five-play, 80-yard drive in the final minute of the game is different.
Superman spun the Sooners' world off its axis.
OU looks to have reestablished order; it will name its score Saturday when Baylor comes to town. The Bears are Griffin-less, and the Sooners are much improved over last season.
Credit the defensive uptick. No more defensive backs and safeties running behind open receivers, looking at each other like, “Wasn't that your guy?”
“We've been complicated enough but simple enough that we're not having breakdowns ourselves and not giving up big plays because of our actions,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “We've really reduced that.”
Heck, these Sooners would beat last year's Sooners by two or three touchdowns.
But what remains to be seen is whether OU can ever get back to the glory of the early 2000s. Can it be a regular in the national title game? Can it make it to November without having to watch scoreboards and need help?
If OU does, it can look back at last year's Baylor game as a catalyst.
Scars aren't always a bad thing.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.