NORMAN – You've heard of statement victories? This was a statement defeat.
Kansas State beat the Sooners 24-19 Saturday night at Owen Field. Beat the Sooners every way you can.
Out-toughed OU. Out-clutched OU. Out-worked OU. Out-played OU. Out-coached OU.
Just so there's no one out there still in denial, let's be clear: The Sooners are not who we thought they are or even who we thought they might be.
They are not a championship-contending team. The cracks of team discipline since winter, the cracks on the field, have shown themselves.
The Big Bowl is gone. Now even the Big 12 title seems a mirage, since they tend to hand that trophy to teams that produce.
“We wish we were better but we weren't,” defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. “There's a lot of teams like we are right now.”
That's true. There are a lot of nothing-special teams playing on Saturdays. Here's what the Sooners are.
• A quarterback-centric team with a quarterback who hasn't played worth a darn since the first week of last November.
Landry Jones kept offering Kansas State the ball, and the Wildcats eventually took it enough to win this game. Two Landry turnovers and it could have been five.
Landry was throwing behind receivers all game long; he even threw behind Roy Finch on a shovel pass, when Finch was 12 inches away.
Want to feel even worse after this defeat, OU fans? Texas is getting better quarterbacking this season than are the Sooners.
Here's how little respect KSU coach Bill Snyder had for the OU offense. He twice ordered a punt on fourth-and-1 from around midfield, even though he's got a battering ram quarterback in Collin Klein who rarely gets knocked backward or sideways.
Snyder correctly deduced that OU's offense would find a way to bumble if it consistently went the length of the field.
• A defense that wasn't even facing its Kryptonite, a sophisticated passing attack, yet wilted in the fourth quarter.
K-State made seven first downs in the fourth quarter and faced only three third downs. Converted all three, by the way.
Mike Stoops' return seemed so promising, then splat. Here came the fourth quarter.
Chalk it up to schemes or conditioning or playmaking on the part of Klein and his pals or a combination of all the above. Whatever, it does not bode well for these Sooners.
• A team that has lost its home dominance. Bob Stoops lost twice at Owen Field his first 12 1/2 seasons. Now he's 3-2 in his last five home games, and one of the victories was over Florida A&M.
This defeat hurt in every way. This defeat signaled that the Sooners aren't capable of rebounding from a disappointing 2011 season the way they rebounded in 2006 and 2010 with flawed but gritty teams.
This team is Few Grit. This team must find its way and soon, or 2012 could go way south in a hurry.
And it starts with Landry Jones. A fifth-year senior who was supposed to be a Heisman Trophy contender and a first-round NFL draft choice can't play like this.
“Bad football,” Bob Stoops admitted of Landry's play.
But it goes beyond Landry. It's just a dip in what we've come to expect from the Sooners.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.