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

Did it ever.

After that no-punt first half, the Sooners came out of the halftime locker room and looked flatter than a crepe.

Three and out.

Three and out.

Three and out.

And as bad as that was, the specifics of those possessions were even worse.

On the first three-and-out, the Sooners faced third-and-4, and Jones threw to Damien Williams, who was nowhere near the first down marker. Got to get to the sticks. Got to throw past the sticks.

On the third three-and-out, Justin Brown stepped out of bounds and negated a third-down catch. It wouldn't have given the Sooners a first down, but it turned a fourth-and-short, think-about-going-for-it situation into a must-punt.

The Aggies threw a three-man front at the Sooners, much like Notre Dame did earlier in the season. It dropped eight guys into coverage and left Landry Jones very few places to throw the ball.

There were just too many miscues, too many details that fell through the cracks.

“Just weren't able to get the first first down and get into some of our tempo,” Heupel said. “Ultimately, I didn't put 'em in good positions on those first three drives, and we weren't good enough executing, and that's why you go three and out.”

And you know what Texas A&M did?

It made OU pay.

After each of those three-and-outs, the Aggies scored a touchdown. They turned a one-point halftime lead into a three-touchdown lead before the end of the third quarter.

“When you go three three-and-outs in a row against that offense,” Ikard said, “you're going to fall behind pretty quickly.”

Sooner coach Bob Stoops said, “You can't keep giving them opportunities.”

Giving the Aggies opportunities meant giving the ball to Manziel.

The Heisman Trophy winner was just as dazzling in person as he was on the highlights this season. He threw the ball fearlessly. He ran it like a squirrel trapped in a pie safe.

But more than anything, he finished drives. He produced touchdowns. He ran for two and threw for two more against the Sooners.

He did what the Sooners didn't.

“We just couldn't finish,” Williams said. “If we'd have been able to finish, this game would've turned out differently.”

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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