There’s no way to be happy about today. But there is a silver lining. And it’s thanks to the Texas Longhorns. With Methzou now dropping a second conference game and looking horribly porous in the process, the Jayhawks have a very real chance to represent the north in Arrowhead. Even if they aren’t able to handle Tech (still confident though) or Texas (not so much), as long as they take care of business against KSU (bagged) and in Lincoln (eh), it will all come down to Arrowhead. Again. Good times. But I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that the South has re-claimed the conference. It was fun while it lasted.
The outcome was: expected, but still disappointing. As you know, I pretty much expected a 10-14 point loss, so the final margin is nothing shocking. The disappointment stems from the revolving door that stood in as the defense today. 674 yards? Really?!? Some more disappointment comes from the offense converting exactly zero third downs until their last drive of the game. That, along with badly losing the turnover battle is pretty much the exact opposite formula to win a game on the road in which you’re a 20 point underdog. But hey, at least they weren’t run off the field like some teams.
The offensive MVP was: Dezmon Briscoe. I’ve been on his bandwagon since early last year, but wow. Aside from that one drive in the second half (to make it 31-24), he was the offense today. 12 catches for 269 yards and that’s taking away two other great catches he made (the one where he was down and Holmes wrestled the ball away and it was somehow called an INT & also when he got a foot down in bounds with the ball and then bobbled on his way down once out of bounds). Texas brutalized the linebackers (I’m still not sure why we didn’t, though Nic Harris was a big reason), but Dez brutalized their secondary. By himself. Just an incredible performance in a lost cause. [Ed. note: There will be no player of the game poll this week as I've made the executive decision that Dez Briscoe is the unanimous winner.]
Defensive MVP was: Kickoff unit. They looked much better and since no one really did anything else to contain the offense, they are the clear winner here.
Offensive LVP was: Dexton Fields. Watching Shipley and Cosby run unabated through the middle of the OU defense last week, I figured Dex and Kerry would have great days. Kerry was able to get free for 4 catches (one of them incredible), but he’s clearly still hurt. In his absence, we should have seen a lot more from Dexton. Todd has to get him the ball. And we’ve got to run plays to give him a chance. But we’ve got to have more from the lone senior out there and leading returning receiver two years running (catchwise).
Defensive LVP was: Kendrick Harper. But really, take your pick. I knew Kendrick would get abused, but I had no idea it would be that bad. It doesn’t help when the strength of your defense, the linebackers, don’t seem to even know where they’re supposed to be half the time. Despite the lack of pressure and the running yards allowed, I actually thought the d-line played decent. But everyone else was atrocious.
The running game was: a nice surprise. I didn’t expect them to have much success, but as the game went on, I couldn’t figure out why they weren’t running more, especially outside. Jake had maybe the best statistical game of his career with 12 carries for 103 yards and a TD. As a team they picked up 4.5 per carry even with all Todd’s sacks factored in. With as gassed as the defense looked the whole second half, I honestly don’t think it would have been a terrible idea to just run three straight times and if you go three and out, so be it. At least you burned some clock. I really think they missed the boat on this one.
The pass rush was: non-existent. Which was to be expected. Sure, Osackpo was able to pressure Bradford, but few others are able. So I wasn’t counting on much here. They flushed him out a few times, mostly early, which was nice but this was a decided mismatch going in and it was verified throughout.
The special teams: looked pretty good. There was nothing flashy, though Jocques had a very nice return. But more importantly, they typically had at least a decent return and they didn’t give up anything big on the other end. You’d like to get more, especially when you’re trying to steal one you shouldn’t, but you can’t expect it. They certainly weren’t a detriment and that’s usually good enough.
Some random thoughts: I like them trying to get Jocques involved, but I don’t understand why they won’t run him outside like they do Jake. That guy is plenty capable and we need to get him the ball more…Kerry being hurt really killed this offense (see: third down conversions)…thank you Dezmon Briscoe…Joe Mortensen, where have you gone?...when you have a drive that goes 80 yards on: shovel pass, run, run, run, run, run and score a touchdown, why then do you go away from the run?...What is it about OU that brings out awful officiating? It wouldn’t have been the difference, but that was just awful from beginning to end and replay really has ruined officiating as they never feel accountable anymore…Is our LT Jeff Spikes or Ben Leuken? This is something that needs to get figured out during practice, not in the middle of games in Norman…I’m doing a lot of bitching, but really, as long as they use this to shore up some weaknesses, things are still fine and I’m just being a typical spoiled fan. This was just a case of going up against a better team; as bad as the defense played, they did force 5 punts, a TOD and 2 missed FGs. Unfortunately, the other seven drives resulted in 6 TDs and a FG. Just as bad, the offense only held the ball longer than three minutes once and it ended in a goal line interception. And after all that, they were still in the game. Then they punted on five straight possessions and that was that.
Texas Tech fear factor is: 8 out of 10. Baseline of 6. (+2) for this. (-1) because the Tech defense will also be “showing up.” (+1) for Kendrick Harper. (+1) for Michael Crabtree being a hybrid Dezmon Briscoe and Kerry Meier. (-1) for this beautiful place.
Heading into next week I feel: anxious. Watching Sam Bradford carve up the secondary today was pretty terrifying and I can’t even imagine the excitement in the Texas Tech film room. And (spoiler alert!) they’re going to have themselves a fun little Saturday. The key will be limiting that fun as much as possible (we usually win the TO battle in Memorial). The other (possibly bigger) key will be having even more fun when we have the ball. Even with the line getting assaulted most of the day, they still put up 31 points and 491 yards. They won’t be under that kind of pressure next Saturday and if watching A&M carve them up the entire first half was any indication, there’s no reason Todd can’t have himself a career day. On that note, I’m going to go jump out of a plane from 10,000 feet and try to forget that our defense allowed 7 yards per play. On 97 plays! Rock Chalk.