NORMAN – Maybe our best chance was the monsoon. If we had played in the absolute downpour that hit Owen Field a couple of hours before the Ohio State game was scheduled to kick off, we might have been better off. But, public safety considerations being what they are, the powers that be wisely decided to delay kickoff 90 minutes, so we could all be dry as we watched the Sooners take a comprehensive thumping from Ohio State, 45-24.
Things started off well enough, with the Sooners marching down the field on the opening possession before lineman Cody Ford broke his leg and had to be carted off. The drive stalled at the Buckeye 11, and Austin Seibert, who has developed the kicking version of a golfer’s yips, doinked a 27-yard field goal try off the right upright. It was a sign of things to come.
The teams traded punts, with Ohio State getting much the better of it, and then the fourth down misery continued. On a 4th and 1 play from the Sooner 36, Curtis Samuel took it around left end and scooted in for a TD that made it 7-0. The Sooners moved to the Ohio State 33 on the next possession, before a 4th and 3 Baker Mayfield pass was deflected by a blitzer, intercepted, and returned by Jerome Baker for a TD to make it 14-0.
Joe Mixon answered immediately with a 97-yard kickoff return that electrified the Owen Field crowd. The only problem was that he dropped the ball before he went into the end zone. Fortunately, the officials didn’t notice.
It didn’t really matter, as Ohio State then embarked on an 89-yard drive which ended with the first of four touchdown catches by Noah Brown. This continued a season-long abuse of whoever is playing corner opposite Jordan Thomas. Perrish Cobb and Michiah Quick both were victimized on the evening, in large part because they would not turn around to see the ball for some reason.
On the next possession, the Sooners used a fake reverse to Dede Westbrook and a 36-yard pass to A.D. Miller to move to the OSU 3. However, Miller fell down when he could have easily scored, and Mayfield then inexplicably took a 13-yard sack on the next play instead of throwing the ball into the stands. He hit Mark Andrews in the hands for what should have been a TD on the next play, but Andrews had the ball deflect off his hands, and the Sooners ended up settling for a field goal to make it 21-10.
After an Ohio State punt, Mayfield threw a very ill-advised pass late across the middle when he could have easily run for a first down. Brown then caught another TD pass on the next play against the beleaguered OU corners, and it was 28-10. Mayfield hit Miller again with a 35-yard TD pass to make it 28-17. OSU then ran out the first half with a drive that ended with Brown making a circus TD catch, pinning the ball against Quick's back in the corner of the end zone to make it 35-17 at the half – the most first half points ever scored by an opponent in Norman.
Ohio State took the opening kickoff of the second half and promptly made it 42-17, and that was pretty much that. The Sooners did have a chance to get as close as 11 points in the third quarter, but were unable to do so, and the fourth quarter was played before a sparse crowd of mostly Ohio State fans, who did their O-H-I-O can't around the stadium late in the game.
The bottom line is that we got thumped at home by a team that was much better coached, with better talent. We have a young secondary that got completely torched. Ohio State’s secondary is young, too, but you wouldn’t have known it watching it on the field. And we need an Australian punter. And some cornerbacks.
So this leaves the Sooners in an unfamiliar spot – with two losses three weeks into the season, and eliminated from any hope of a return to the playoff. The natives are restless, as would be expected. The truth is that this team is fully capable of winning the Big 12, which is not full of world beaters this year. This team is also capable of falling off a cliff and going 7-5. We will have two weeks to stew over this game until TCU. Lose in Fort Worth, and we could be in for a long season. Win, and anything’s possible, short of the playoff.