Monday, December 31, 2018

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray: “They didn’t stop us…”


This is galling, but completely expected. It’s what almost every high-flying offense has said after a loss to Alabama since Nick Saban stepped onto the Bama sidelines in September 2007.

"We're not really satisfied. This isn't satisfying. I know it's a great season, and we've got a lot to be proud about, but coming up short wasn't the goal."

Afterward, coach Lincoln Riley said the Sooners played "their worst ball" in the beginning of the game, and Murray said Alabama "didn't stop us."

"As you saw, they stopped us the first quarter, we stopped ourselves, but hats off to them," Murray said. "They're a good team. They've got a great defense. But second half, we picked up the tempo. They got tired, and at that point, we kind of ..."

“… got pulled down, knocked down, tackled for a loss and blown up by Quinnen, Anfernee and Raekwon.”

Alabama didn’t get tired. They just did what they’d done for 12 out of the 13 games they’d already played. Saban & Associates started subbing in the backups in the 3rd quarter, knowing full well that if the Sooners got within sniffing distance of coming back the starters would return rested and ready for a 4th quarter smackdown. When Alabama needed to score, they did. When Oklahoma needed to score, they got pulled down with one hand tied behind Anfernee Jennings’ back.

Also, it wasn’t the Alabama defense that got tired. It was Oklahoma’s. I will admit that I underestimated the Tide defense’s stamina and overestimated the Sooner offense. As it turned out, Oklahoma had essentially a one-horse offense. That one horse is a very gifted QB with uncanny talents, but those other 10 guys might not even start for Georgia, the only other team with a QB as scary as Murray.

Unlike Oklahoma, Georgia almost beat Bama. Twice.

Coach Saban did the honorable thing and called off the dogs at the end of the game. It was clear that on the Tide’s last possession, Sooner defenders had neither the desire nor the ability to tackle Oklahoma-native Josh Jacobs anymore. They were sick of him, and sick of Bama’s ability to run a multidimensional offense.

It also bears noting that Oklahoma has also become a very undisciplined football program. Under Bob Stoops, the Sooners averaged only about 4 flags per game. Under his replacement Lincoln Riley, they’re averaging about 7 flags per game. We all remember the complete lack of discipline displayed by last year’s Heisman Trophy winner (and playoff loser) Baker Mayfield.

I have always admired Oklahoma’s football program. They’ve had some awesome teams, great players, great coaches and a case full of National Championship trophies. Their fans are gracious visitors and hospitable hosts since forever. Oklahoma has been a class act until now. I hope their team gets their class back. What we saw last Saturday night was ugly,  and the Almighty notices stuff like that.

Post script addendum: Remember this post? All that needs to be said is this: In the only opportunity to have the Heisman Trophy winner face the Heisman Trophy runner-up, the runner-up showed the voters the error of their choices. In the only game where each quarterback had to face the other quarterback’s team, the one voted as Most Outstanding came up wanting. Poetic justice, indeed.


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