A few notes, the final few plays broken down and later today a progress report for Earl Thomas: Nothing definitive, just a shorter, more digestible look at our starting free safety.
- Coaches are lightning rods. They receive blame when it's deserved and more often when it's not. Unwarranted criticism shields coaches from the deserved kind. That's a twist of logic only a fan can understand.
- Bob Stoops played Sam Bradford from under center for much of the Sooners final scoring drive. After a bogus roughing penalty and a 26 yard completion out of shotgun to convert third and 14, Bradford rolled out from under center and threw the go-ahead touchdown. That was the only pass to that point that Bradford threw on plays he started under center. For most of it, if Bradford was under center, the Sooners were running. Texas knew it. Texas dominated Oklahoma on plays Bradford started under center, but nevertheless the drive worked. The Sooners scored.
- Texas took the lead on their next drive.
- Whether it was a bad idea reinforced by a lucky outcome or a continuation of a flawed process, Stoops played Bradford from under center for the entirety of the most important drive of the game: the following drive. Oklahoma trailed 38-35 with 7:37 left in the fourth quarter. Bradford completed a play-action pass for seven yards, DeMarco Murray ran for one and Bradford pumped, clutched and threw incomplete into cover to force the punt.
- Texas scored on their next drive to pull ahead by ten and put the game away.
- By my quick count, Bradford was 5/5 for 138 yards and two touchdowns on plays involving jailbreak screens. He was 2/2 for 75 yards and a touchdown on passes away from the screen and 3/3 for 63 yards and a touchdown on passes to the player running the screen. Bradford was 23/33 for 249 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on all other pass attempts.
- I hope Brian Orakpo's knees hold up. He was clearly the most talented player on the field.
- Ryan Broyles received and curled towards the right sideline. His team was close to dead, but with 45 seconds on the game clock and the Sooners down two scores, however desperate, this kick return mattered. Broyles evaded the first tackler, curled back and towards the right sideline and broke into full stride. Lamarr Houston had finished the last drive being helped off the field, victim of a vicious cut block. He met Broyles along the right sideline and bullied him out of bounds. That's my short essay on Lamarr Houston, defensive tackle, former running back.
Thomas plays most of the next two series in a prevent role, well away from the action. Bradford finds Iglesias underneath for seven. Thomas DNF.
2. 2nd and 3 at OKLA 45 DeMarco Murray rush for 1 yard to the Okla 46.
Roddrick Muckelroy tackles Murray on a play desperately strung wide. Though it earns only a yard, the play is slow developing. Thomas is able to sprint from off frame to near the action. He supermans over the downed defender to avoid any possibility of penalty.
3. 3rd and 2 at OKLA 46 Sam Bradford pass incomplete.
Bradford pumps then throws high, behind and into cover. Muckelroy tips it away. Houston is helped off the field. Thomas does not factor.
(Texas pulls ahead by 10)
(Kickoff, Houston tackles)
Thomas is too deep to track. Jailbreak screen.
2. 1st and 10 at TEX 41 Sam Bradford pass incomplete.
Thomas maintains deep cover right, but does not get involved. Muckelroy defends the pass.
3. 2nd and 10 at TEX 41 Sam Bradford sacked for a loss of 5 yards to the Texas 46.
Orakpo attacks the edge and forces Bradford to step up into the pocket. Kindle disengages from Trent Williams, cuts in and sacks Bradford. Sam takes a ton of hard contact.
4. 3rd and 15 at TEX 46 Sam Bradford rush for 7 yards to the Texas 39.
Bradford scrambles. Not wise.
5. 4th and 8 at TEX 39 Sam Bradford pass incomplete.
Two wide receivers right. Juaquin Iglesias, from the outside, runs a 10 yard dig. Broyles, from the slot, runs a corner-post. Now the mystery: Iglesias's route becomes ragged and instead of square, he runs something loopy looking like a flattened parabola. Broyles route is tight. Thomas is deep and shadowing Broyles. He opens his hips and bites on the outside move but has the lateral agility to recover. Sort of. Both routes reach roughly the same vertical space. That is, Bradford could shoot a laser through both Broyles and Iglesias. Broyles has inside position on Thomas and can potentially come back to the ball and receive in front of the safety. Iglesias has his man beat. Bradford throws. It's too far ahead of Iglesias but almost perfectly to Broyles. Iglesias reaches out and knocks the pass down incomplete. If he hadn't, Broyles probably could have caught it. Probably.
(Clock killing drive)
1. 1st and 10 at OKLA 19 Sam Bradford pass incomplete.
Sloppy roll left, errant pass.
4. 4th and 2 at TEX 45 Sam Bradford pass intercepted by Earl Thomas at the Texas 0, returned for no gain.
Bradford throws an anemic Hail Mary that's deflected high into the air and maybe intercepted by Thomas. He grabs it and tiptoes in bounds. Thomas haggles with the official and earns the stat, but it's immaterial. The game is over.