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Oklahoma football: Too many points left on the table early, then too many three-and-outs

COMMENTARY — Oklahoma's high-powered offense had this in common with its defense: It could begin to keep up with Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.
by Jenni Carlson Published: January 5, 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas — Oklahoma offensive coordinator Josh Heupel walked through the bowels of Jerry World after a rough night at the office, flipping through his play sheets and chomping on his gum.

That Dentine got a workout.

On a night when Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M offense proved to be exactly what we thought they'd be, the Aggies were more than able to uphold their end of this expected shootout. The Sooners were not.

Texas A&M 41, OU 13.

“When you're playing against someone like that, you have to put up points, you've got to score, you've got to put pressure on them,” Sooner tailback Damien Williams said of going against Manziel and the Aggies. “I feel like we didn't put enough pressure on them.”

It's easy to point to the Sooners' offensive failings early in the second half, but the problems started well before that.

On the Sooners' opening possession of the game, they strung together a long and impressive drive. Landry Jones completed 6 of 8 passes. Trey Millard made a couple nice plays. Kenny Stills had a couple solid catches.

But even after having second and goal from the 1-yard line, OU didn't manage to score a touchdown. It sent Blake Bell into the game to take two cracks at the end zone from three feet away, and he got stuffed on second down and threw an incompletion on third down.

The Sooners had to settle for a field goal.

Four points left on the table.

On their next possession, there was another long and impressive drive, but again, it ended without a touchdown. The Sooners had first and goal from the 8-yard line but went incompletion, 1-yard run, incompletion.

Another field goal.

Another four more left on the table.

“Any time you kick it inside the 10-yard line,” Heupel said, “those are missed opportunities.”

OU finally punched in a touchdown on its final possession of the half to trail by only one at the break, but think how the complexion of this game would've changed had the Sooners converted those field goals to touchdowns. They would've led 21-13 at halftime. They would've had the momentum.

And as it was, they still felt pretty decent about what they'd done. A Cotton Bowl record 23 first-half completions for Landry Jones. One interception. No punts.

“The first half, I thought we were rolling,” Sooner center Gabe Ikard said. “The third quarter killed us.”

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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