Oklahoma was soft in the middle, missed too many opportunities in loss to Missouri

In his weekly film study, OU beat writer Mike Baldwin writes that there were several factors in the Sooners' 36-27 loss at Missouri.
by Michael Baldwin Modified: October 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm •  Published: October 24, 2010

Lose the turnover battle, and you usually lose the game.

Three turnovers were a factor in Oklahoma's 36-27 loss Saturday at Missouri.

Four other areas severely damaged the Sooners' chances of playing for the national title, too.

SOFT IN THE MIDDLE

So much for a shutout against Iowa State signifying the defense had turned the corner.

Missouri's strategy was to spread the field and attack the middle. It worked. Of the Tigers' 486 yards, 384 were in the middle of the field. Running backs ran through huge holes, and receivers too often were wide open.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 14 of 17 passes over the middle for 231 yards.

Effectively using the jet sweep, Missouri's top running play, the Tigers gained 153 of their 178 rushing yards up the middle.

TIGERS CONTROL TRENCHES

Missouri's offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter, during which the Tigers ran 24 offensive plays compared to the Sooners' nine.

The most telling stat was the Tigers outrushing OU 178-99, an area the Sooners were expected to have an edge.

Missouri recorded only one sack but offered more pressure on quarterback Landry Jones than the Sooners did on Gabbert. Jones was hurried seven times. Three other times, Jones was hit while throwing. Gabbert wasn't sacked and was rarely pressured.

PLAYS NOT MADE

Ryan Broyles dropped a touchdown pass three plays before Jimmy Stevens missed a 30-yard field goal early in the third quarter. If Broyles makes the TD grab, the Sooners lead 21-17 and seize momentum.

On Missouri's go-ahead touchdown, a 38-yard Jerrell Jackson reception, Jonathan Nelson went for a monster hit and didn't wrap up. Demontre Hurst inexplicably stood and watched Jackson break free.

The game's first play put the Sooners in a hole. Travis Lewis and others failed to get off blocks on the opening kickoff. Gahn McGaffie bolted through a huge seam to race 86 yards for a 7-0 lead.

SURRENDERING BIG PLAYS

A season-long trend continued. OU's defense is last in the conference in surrendering plays 20 yards or longer.

Continue reading this story on the...


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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