Now the Sooner goals have to readjust. The Big 12 title is still there, but after this performance, the Bedlam debate has shifted. The better team resides in Stillwater, and OU has to go from the hunted to the hunter.
Some out there will conjure up national title scenarios for OU, but Boise State isn’t losing, and Boise State will be ahead of the Sooners the rest of the year. So the hopes shift to the LSU-Alabama winner losing somewhere along the line. Good luck with that.
“Anyone we play the rest of the year will whip us if we don’t play any better,” Stoops said. “They just flat-out beat us.”
We’ll see how the Sooners respond, starting with next Saturday in Manhattan, Kan., against the unbeaten Kansas States.
“Next week, Kansas State will beat the living heck out of us if we don’t play better,” Stoops said. “But if we can make some improvements, who knows what can happen?”
That improvement might need to start on the practice field. Stoops said the Sooners had a couple of poor practices during the week, then seemed unfocused in meetings on Saturday. That’s not just a player problem. That’s a coaching problem.
OU certainly didn’t respond to adversity Saturday night. A 24-7 halftime deficit was bad enough. But the most discouraging part of the game for the Sooners was the first two minutes of the second half.
OU got the kickoff, went three plays that produced zero yards and punted. Tech promptly went 72 yards in four plays, with quarterback Seth Doege throwing 11 yards to Alex Torres for the touchdown. It was 31-7 with 12:57 left in the third quarter.
“We talked about that in the (halftime) locker room,” Stoops said. “A chance to get the ball back, close the gap right away. But they outworked us the whole way.”
That’s when the Sooners turned desperate. They made a game of it but ran out of time. And now the biggest dreams of this 2011 season are gone.