Quick observations from BYU-OU game
September, 5, 2009
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin
Here are some quick impressions from BYU’s stunning 14-13 over Oklahoma Saturday night. I’m as shocked as anybody by the result.
How the game was won: It would be easy to blame Sam Bradford’s shoulder injury. But BYU won this game because it converted key plays and took advantage of critical Oklahoma penalties and mistakes. The Sooners fumbled three times, losing two. And they were flagged 12 times for 94 yards in penalties.
Player of the game: BYU quarterback Max Hall torched the Sooners for 328 yards and two touchdowns to spark the Cougars’ upset victory. But as impressive as his statistics were, his gritty leadership helped spark the Cougars. Hall converted three third-down plays and a fourth-down play on the Cougars’ game-winning drive.
Stat of the game: Oklahoma was limited to 264 yards of total offense. It was their lowest output since producing 230 yards in a 27-24 loss to Colorado on Sept. 29, 2007.
Turning point: Bradford’s hopes of repeating as a Heisman winner, as well as the Sooners’ national title hopes, went up in smoke when he was hit cleanly by BYU linebacker Coleby Clawson late in the first half. The Sooners’ offense never recovered as they lost their first season-opening game since losing to TCU in 2005.
Second guessing: I’m wondering why Bob Stoops went for a 54-yard field goal with Tress Way to try to win the game at Oklahoma’s final possession. It was the longest kick attempt of his career. I know he likely didn’t have much confidence in Landry Jones in that possession, but wouldn’t a fourth-and-14 conversion been easier than a miracle 54-yard field goal?
What it means: The Sooners’ national title hopes have been dealt a staggering blow. They aren’t dead, but they are on life support. And with Bradford’s status uncertain, their hopes for a fourth-straight Big 12 title look pretty slim now, too. It also provides the Mountain West Conference with a strong national calling card victory that arguably might be the biggest in the conference’s history.