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Sunday, September 23, 2012
Postgame wrap: K-State 24, Oklahoma 19

By Brandon Chatmon and Jake Trotter

Analyzing the finer points of Oklahoma's 24-19 loss to Kansas State:

• The Sooners nearly suffered another disastrous turnover in the third quarter. As jet back Roy Finch came in front of Landry Jones in motion, Jones took the snap and heaved it Finch’s way. Officials originally ruled the play a fumble and Kansas State recovered deep in OU territory. The replay booth, however, reversed call and gave the Sooners the ball back.

Initially, it looked as though Finch ran the wrong play or wasn’t expecting the ball. But after the game, Bob Stoops said the play was simply mistimed.

Blake Bell
Blake Bell's fumble in the red zone was costly for the Sooners, who had three turnovers vs. Kansas State.
“The timing of it wasn’t what it should have been,” Stoops said. “That’s why we do it the way we do, so if we drop it, it’s an incomplete pass.”

• Landry Jones wasn’t the only QB to commit a costly turnover. OU had the ball on the 1-yard line and was on the verge of taking the lead. But Blake Bell dropped the ball out of the Belldozer snap and Kansas State recovered. Even though the snap was a tad low, Stoops put the blame on Bell for the turnover.

“It hit him in the belly,” Stoops said. “What’s he going to say? He dropped it. You’ve got to catch the ball.”

• The Sooners committed another costly mistake, when Damien Williams’ 65-yard touchdown run was negated by a Justin Brown holding penalty. Brown grabbed the jersey of a Kansas State defensive back, clearing the path for Williams to dash through.

“One of those judgement calls,” Stoops said. “Changes everything.”

Even without the penalty, the touchdown wouldn’t have stood. Replay showed Williams stepped out of bounds well before reaching the end zone.

• Bad decisions and bad execution doomed Oklahoma in its 24-19 loss to Kansas State on Saturday night.

Landry Jones’ fumble gave the Wildcats their first touchdown, Jones’ interception led to the Wildcats second score and Blake Bell’s red-zone fumble erased a eight-play, 54-yard drive in the second quarter.

“It’s just bad football when you turn the football over,” coach Bob Stoops said. “You give up three turnovers and don’t get one, you’re going to lose against a good team every time and that’s how it went.”

Said center Gabe Ikard: “It’s kind of uncharacteristic stuff for us there. We just put the defense in bad spots.”

It’s a scary trend for the Sooners, who turned the ball over 29 times in 2011.

• Even though Oklahoma has put itself behind the eight-ball if the Sooners hope to compete for a Big 12 or even national championship, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops knows it’s not time to throw in the towel.

“It is a long season and we have to regroup,” he said. “I don’t think it is anything we can’t fix. I thought our kids competed and played hard. And that’s the bottom line to me.”

Unlike it’s Bedlam loss to Oklahoma State in the regular season finale in 2011, the Sooners competed throughout the entire 60 minutes even though the Wildcats took a double-digit lead with 7:27 left in the game.

“We broke down in a lot of elements in the game but our kids competed,” Stoops said.

• The Sooners made some defensive personnel changes against Kansas State.

Chuka Ndulue and David King got the start at defensive end alongside defensive tackles Casey Walker and Jamarkus McFarland. Senior defensive end R.J. Washington was the odd man out as the Sooners looked to start an defensive front that could hold up well against the run.

McFarland was the most active Sooner on the defensive front with five tackles including one tackle for loss. King and Ndulue finished with four tackles apiece while Washington and Walker added two tackles.

At linebacker, Aaron Franklin moved ahead of Joseph Ibiloye at linebacker as the Sooners looked to get a more instinctive defender on the field against the Wildcats power running attack. Ibiloye, a former defensive back, fares better in coverage while Franklin’s instincts help him make active plays against running teams. Look for the third linebacker spot to remain fluid based on the opponent as OU continues to try to put its defenders in positions to succeed.

• You would have assumed the Sooners learned from last season’s disappointments, but the words of Oklahoma safety Tony Jefferson and receiver Kenny Stills after OU’s 24-19 loss to Kansas State make you wonder.

“It’s just kind of disappointing when you feel you could have definitely won the game.” -- Jefferson

“We expect a lot more out of ourselves. It’s embarrassing to go out there and play like that as an offense. We think that we are a lot better as a team than that.” -- Stills

While Kansas State is a quality team that arrived in Norman ranked No. 15 in the nation, it would be easy to apply those quotes to OU’s 41-38 loss to the Red Raiders in 2011. Against Texas Tech, OU squandered opportunities on offense and mental mistakes on defense allowed the opponent to make key plays in the upset. Against K-State, it was a similar scenario.

Have the Sooners learned from last season? It sure didn’t look like it on Saturday.

• Roy Finch played offense in the first half for the first time this season, and did well with his limited opportunity. On OU's opening drive, Finch dashed 11 yards on his first carry. That would turn out to be his last touch, however, as Brennan Clay (two carries, 15 yards), Dom Whaley (nine carries, 51 yards) and Damien Williams (10 carries, 34 yards) received the bulk of the work.

Trey Millard, meanwhile, touched the ball only twice. Once on a fullback screen that Kansas State read well. The other on a carry up the middle for negative one yard.