Saturday night still stings a lot as I write this on Sunday afternoon. The Bearcats played to the expectations of the fans, and themselves against the mighty Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners didn't play their best game, but their offense is elite, and did in the Bearcats. Along with credit to OU, this game highlighted by missed opportunities. Let's take a look back at what went down.
Jake Rogers started the game with a touchback, something he's done quite well so far this season. OU got 10 yards in two quick plays, but the UC defense was hyped up and stuffed the next three plays. Tress Way hit a short punt that DJ Woods returned 19 yards, but that wasn't it, as there was a 15 yard penalty on OU. UC started at the OU 32. The Bearcats faced a 3-11, then Anthony McClung made his first career catch, going up to get one for 25 yards. UC moved the ball to the 2 after a 4 yard Collaros keeper had half the distance added with a personal foul. UC ran an end around to DJ for nothing, a Collaros keeper for a loss, and a third down pass couldn't be hauled in by McClung. Missed opportunity #1. Jake Rogers banged home a 22 yarder. UC 3-0.
I mentioned in the live blog, check the archives, that OU's second drive was very important. Rogers blasted a touchback, so OU started at the 20. After a first down incompletion, Landry Jones caught fire. He hit an 8 yarder, DeMarco Murray went 4 yards to convert, then Jones hit Trey Millard for 17. After a couple Murray runs for 7 to get the ball to the UC 44, Jones hit Ryan Broyles for 12, Murray for 8, Broyles for 7 then 11, and Cameron Kenney for 3. A UC offsides penalty moved the ball from the 3 to the 1 1/2, where Murray punched it for the Sooners. OU 7-3.
After a UC three and out, OU started at their 31. Murray gained the first 12 yards on a 4 yard catch and a couple of runs. Jones hit Kenny Stills for 11 yards to get the ball into UC territory. After a couple Murray runs did nothing thanks to the UC d, Jones converted with a pass to Mossis Madu. He hit Madu for a 1 yard loss, before throwing one deep that Stills hauled down at the 6. Murray had a 1 yard run to get to the 5, then Ryan Broyles ran wide open in the back of the end zone behind a busted UC zone for an easy TD catch. It wasn't looking great at this point. OU 14-3.
DJ Woods didn't get off a great kick return, but thanks to an illegal block in the back, UC started at the 11. Isaiah Pead did not care. He had a 16 yard run, followed by an 11 yard run. Collaros found DJ Woods open at midfield and DJ took off all the way down to the 4, where he was run down by Jonathan Nelson. UC couldn't do anything on the first two plays. On third down, Zach Collaros rolled right, when nothing was there, he ran all the way back left, faked like he was going to run, fired to a wide open John Goebel for 6. It was Goebel's first receiving TD. Jake Rogers shanked the extra point. This turned out to be pretty big later, missed opportunity #2 OU 14-9.
OU drove to the UC 39, thanks to a personal foul made Rogers kick from the 15 and Murray returned the kick to the 48. The Sooners punted into the UC end zone. Pead ran for 2 and was stuffed, setting up a 3-8. Collaros found a wide open Woods, who looked like he was going to the house. Nelson started gaining on him, and at about the 2, punched the ball out of DJ's arm with perfect timing. The ball went into the end zone for a touchback. Missed opporunity #3.
OU wasted no time moving the ball. Madu had a 12 yard run, Jones hit Trent Ratterree deep for 25 yards, Madu had a short loss, but Jones hit Broyles for 20 yards to the UC 25. OU got a 5 yard penalty. They would only gain the penalty yards back as the UC defense stiffened. Jimmy Stevens was no good from 42 yards out. UC wouldn't do anything with their possession after a quick first down. The UC defense held the Sooners to a 3 and out. DJ took the punt to the UC 40, and that's where we pick things up.
Isaiah Pead had a pair of 4 yard runs around an 8 yard catch by Armon Binns to get the ball to the OU 43. Zach converted a 3-6 to DJ. A deep pass to Binns drew a pass interference call. Pead had a 7 yard run to the OU 15. Collaros took to the air on second down. He tried a pump and go, but Jonathan Nelson was waiting for it. Missed opportunity #4.
Jones completed a 15 yard pass on first down, Murray ran for 2, and caught a 9 yard pass to quickly move the ball to the 46. Trey Franks ran for 3 yards before he was stripped by Maalik Bomar, who played out of his mind. OU recovered, and drew a personal foul, making them face a 2-22. They got 4 yards, before Dejuan Miller burned Reuben Johnson, who I guess didn't see the ball, for 37 yards. With the ball at the UC 25, the defense once again held firm and forced 3 incompletions. Stevens this time was true from 42. OU 17-9. UC got the ball back with a minute left and that was the half.
OU had 313 yards to UC's 246. Landry Jones was 23-34-251-1 TD. Ryan Broyles had 7-62 receiving. Murray had 12-32-1 TD on the ground, with 25 receiving yards. Miller had 52 yards receiving and Stills 40 for OU as well. Zach Collaros was 11-20-178-1 TD-1 INT. DJ Woods had 137 of those yards on 5 catches. Pead had 12-67 on the ground. OU had 7-68 penalty wise, which helped UC out.
UC went 3&out to start the half. OU did not. Spoiler alert. The very good punt by Pat O'Donnell made the Sooners start at the 8. Jones hit Broyles for 7 on first down. Reuben Johnson drew a PI on the next play. Landry Jones rolled right to buy some time, found Trey Franks for 19 to the UC 49, and got 15 added with a roughing the passer on Derek Wolfe. It was not opportune. Murray had 2 carries for 14 yards to the UC 21. The other running back, Madu, thought looked fun, so he ran for 4 and caught a pass for 9. Murray ran for 3, then Madu ran for the final 5. It was a completely dominant drive by the Oklahoma offense. OU 24-9.
UC started at the 20, but Pead changed that with a 13 yard run. A false start moved UC back, but a roughing the passer on OU after a 1 yard pass to Bones Barnett gave UC a first down. Pead busted a 25 yard run to the OU 31. A Pead run went backwards 2, and UC never really recovered. Jake Rogers was true from 43. OU 24-12.
Cameron Kenney returned the kick to the 35, and it looked like OU was ready to drive again. They were, as Broyles hauled in a 31 yard pass after a 7 yard run by Murray, and a 1 yarder by Jones. The UC defense wasn't going to let another score happen. Dan Giordano got his 3.5 sack of the season on second down, and Cam Cheatham stopped Murray on a swing pass on 3rd. OU would punt. UC thought that looked like fun, so they went 3 and out. The UC D forced another 3 and out, thanks to pressure that caused an intentional grounding. Way punted to the UC 31, and that's where we pick up.
Isaiah Pead owned the second half. He showed it again here. He took off for 35 yards, and he was facemasked, putting the ball at the OU 19. After an incompletion, Zach ran for 5. On 3rd, Collaros rolled right, and rolled and rolled and was sacked by Jeremy Beal for a 12 yard loss. It was a bad play call. On 3-5 from the 14, you have to either run it, or do something quick. It's 4 down territory there, and UC wasted it. Missed opportunity #5. Rogers hit from 43. OU 24-15.
Landry Jones didn't take UC scoring too lightly. After another Jake Rogers touchback, Jones hit Stills for 21, a couple of passes for 1 yard, Miller for 14 and Ratterree for 6 to the UC 38. Murray had a couple runs for 4 yards, followed by Madu getting stuffed for a loss. On 2-12, Jones looked to throw across the middle, but JK Schaffer bobbled an INT at least 4 times before grasping it tightly. The D once again held.
The UC offense ran with the momentum. Pead caught a pass for 15, then ran for 15 more. A couple of runs set up 3-5 at the OU 36. Collaros threw to a wide open DJ Woods and just like that, UC was right back in it. OU 24-22.
OU had a very bad drive, starting with a penalty on the return that made them start from the 8. They were forced into a 3 and out as PBS went crazy. The punt went only 33 yards, and UC took over at the 44. UC started with a 5 yard Pead run. That was followed a 4 yard pass for a loss to Reuben Haley. Zach was then sacked and stripped by Pryce Macon for a turnover and missed opportunity #6.
OU got the ball to the UC 44 on a second down pass for 11 yards to Stills. They would go no further and were forced to punt. I'm sure you know what happened next. DJ muffed the punt at the 7 and OU recovered. Missed opportunity #7. OU took 2 plays to score, capped with a 5 yard pass to Trey Millard. It was a dagger. OU 31-22.
UC's offensive line played great nearly all night. They had 2 drives, the last and this, were they were bad. After two incompletions, there was a hold. Then on 3-20, Collaros was sacked and stripped by Ronnell Lewis. UC recovered, but punted. OU took over with 2:52 on the clock. UC stuffed all three runs, in fact, they pushed them back 2 yards. The punt went to the UC 20.
Collaros hit back to back 12 yarders to Binns and Bones. After an offsides, he hit McClung to the OU 31. Facing 3-10, he hit McClung for 6, and on 4-4, hit McClung for 7. The next play, he found Adrien Robinson, who ran down the right sideline, who lunged for the end zone and scored from 18 yards out. OU 31-29.
UC had a chance for the onside kick. They went with one up the middle, but it rolled out of reach. UC had a chance to get it, so that's going to count as .5 of a missed opportunity. Onsides kicks are hard to get yes, but this was one to be had. OU downed the ball to seal it. OU 31-29.
OU had 452 yards, 370 in the air. The 82 on the ground in 43 attempts is a little misleading with the knees, but not much. The run defense has been dominant. OU had 13-113 penalty wise, and quite frankly, kept UC in the game at times. Landry Jones was 36-51-370-2 TDs-1 INT. He was very good. DeMarco Murray had 28-67-1 TD, with 21 in the air. Madu had 28-1 TD on the ground. Ryan Broyles had 10-100-1 TD. Kenny Stills was very impressive with 4-72. Miller had 3-66.
For UC, Zach Collaros was 23-38-305-3 TDs-1 INT. Isaiah Pead was electric, 21-169. DJ Woods was huge in the air, 7-171-1 TD. Anthony McClung had 4-58. Binns 3-26. They need to get Binns the ball in as many different was as they get DJ the ball in my opinion. He's got the talent, he needs the touches.
Let's touch on 3 positives and 3 negatives before we wrap things up.
- Isaiah Pead. What can you say? He was fan-fucking-tastic. He was the dimension the offense needed. They actually gave him the ball and let him run outside, unlike the Fresno game where he only had 10 carries and like 4 catches. He was a monster.
- The offensive line. They switched Cobb and Hoffman, and it worked very well. Zach had time. Pead had room to run. They didn't commit too many penalties. They did a nice job. Every line has a couple of breakdowns at times against good teams. 150% improvement.
- The run defense and linebackers. Maalik Bomar was everywhere. He had 10 tackles, forced a fumble, he made big plays. JK Schaffer had 13 tackles and an INT. Giordano had 1.5 sacks from end. They played their balls off, to use a Charlie Strong saying. They made plays when it mattered. They gave all they had.
- By my count, UC had 7.5 missed opportunities that jumped off the page. That's too many against a team as good as Oklahoma. Everyone is going to point to the fumbles by DJ. They were costly, one took a TD off the board, one added one for OU. But, there was much more that could have been done.
- The secondary. They were toasted again. UC doesn't get enough pressure with their line, and man it kills the zone. There were holes in it again this week. Broyles was completely wide open on his TD catch. Jones is good, and he picked them apart at will. If OU didn't try to force the run, he could have passed for 500 yards.
- They lost. I'm not one for moral victories. There are no moral losses, so there should be no moral victories. UC is 1-3. I am crazy enough to believe they can win the Big East. Actually, every fan of every team is crazy enough to believe they can win the Big East. We can still go to the BCS. But, right now, the record isn't good. We haven't beaten an FBS team. I think that's the right one. We haven't beaten a real team.
Saturday was a great showing, and I don't mean to piss on the parade with that last one. The next two are Miami and Louisville. If UC isn't standing at 3-3, I'll not be very pleased. After that, it's home games against USF and Syracuse. It's not unreasonable to say UC should be 5-3 rolling into Morgantown. But that's getting way ahead of ourselves. Having said that, it's easy to start looking ahead after UC played well. We can put the Butch Kragthrope shit to bed for a few weeks and start looking forward to the rest of the season. I know I will. Mainly because I choose to blog about it, but I will. I hope you are there with me. These fucking hipsters are.