'To play good offense, it takes all 11': How concerning are OU's offensive struggles after loss at Baylor?
WACO, Texas — No one on OU’s offense was spared from the litany of reasons the Sooners struggled on that side of the ball in Saturday’s 27-14 loss to Baylor.
Plenty of mistakes from freshman Caleb Williams — overthrows, forcing throws into dangerous coverage, poor decision-making in other areas. Spencer Rattler came in and the results weren’t much different, save Rattler not being able to both make plays himself and keep plays alive with his feet.
Offensive line? Where to start?
OU struggled to protect both quarterbacks, with Baylor recording five sacks — the first time the Sooners had allowed that number since Georgia had five in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day 2018.
The Sooners never established a running game either, with just four runs of 10 or more yards and none more than 19.
The offensive line was also called for a pair of penalties, a hold from Chris Murray wiping out a 12-yard run by Williams and an unnecessary roughness call on Andrew Raym in the fourth quarter.
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“A couple times, we had some things really there and we didn’t quite have the protection for it,” Sooners coach Lincoln Riley said. “I don’t know if there was anything mentally with our guys. We gave up some push, got beat physically a couple times, but again, just weren’t able to piece it together offensively.
“To play good offense, it takes all 11.”
The Sooners’ wide receivers had several drops, not helping the cause of either Williams or Rattler.
The run-game was anemic, with just 82 yards on the ground.
OU’s 154 combined rushing yards over the last two weeks is its lowest total in consecutive games since 2012.
That wasn’t the only number that was the worst or close to worse during Riley’s tenure.
The Sooners’ 260 yards of total offense in Saturday’s loss was their lowest offensive output since Lincoln Riley’s arrival in 2015.
OU’s 178 passing yards were tied for fifth-worst during that span while its rushing output (82 yards) were seventh.
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“We just kinda all took our turn and never quite got in sync together,” Riley said.
Riley has made a habit this season of saying the Sooners were close when they struggled on either side of the ball.
With Williams behind center in recent weeks, OU’s offense hummed along at times, but Saturday didn’t look close at all.
Some of that can be attributed to Baylor’s defense, which ranks second in the Big 12 in scoring defense. But the Bears are just fifth in total defense and fifth in passing defense and still they stymied the Sooners.
Over the next two weeks, OU will face an Iowa State defense that’s just behind Baylor in scoring defense and and Oklahoma State group that leads the league by a healthy margin.
The Cyclones and Cowboys are also one-two in the league in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense.
“I don’t think it really matters where we are at in the season,” receiver Marvin Mims said when asked if it was concerning the Sooners had so many problems offensively this late in the season.
“At the beginning of the season, we were not playing up to our standard and how we like to play offense. We have two tough teams and two tough defensive teams yet to play — one at home, one at a hostile environment. We’re just trying to hit the nail on the head, get back in there on Monday and go back to work.”