“We thought they'd come after us and we had a nice little fade route to Josh,” Monken said of the third-and-11 call. “We've got to give him a chance.
“That little series there is disappointing. I could have called it better. It's not all (Chelf). He played well, really operated our offense.”
Overall, the Cowboys were held to four three-and-outs. But three came in the final 15 minutes.
And none carried the weight of the last one late.
“We had some critical stops in the fourth quarter, where they could have iced the game,” said OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, “and we just gave our offense another opportunity.
“They were virtually unstoppable all night, so we knew if we could get them the ball back one more time, we had a great opportunity to put the game into overtime. Guys made some clutch plays in the game.”
And for the most part, the Cowboys made their share of clutch plays, too.
Joseph Randle rammed for 113 yards and four touchdowns.
Chelf threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and added 63 yards on various designed quarterback runs and scrambles – a total reduced from 81 yards by three sacks for 18 yards in losses.
Josh Stewart caught 11 passes for 150 yards, including a 75-yard grab-and-go for a score on the first play of the second half.
None of that seemed to matter to Monken.
“At the end, you have a chance offensively — they make a fourth-down stop, we go three-and out. Take a little bit more time off it, which we didn't do.
“You've got to finish.”
Monken rattled off the five key elements the Cowboys live by and came up short by that one.
“Toughness. Effort. Discipline. No excuses. And finish,” Monken said. “We didn't finish on offense. And if anybody looks at it any other way, they're wrong. About what the score was, what we did.
“We had a chance to finish and we didn't.”