Spencer Rattler finally got to play a complete game. Of course that was to be expected as the Sooners took a big step up in competition from FCS Missouri State. What wasn’t expected was for the Sooners to buckle under pressure, resulting in a sloppy offensive performance and a defense that showed flashes of brilliance and also regressed to giving up big plays. The end result wasn’t good for Oklahoma and now there are so many more questions than answers as the Sooners sit 0-1 in the conference.
Ravaged by COVID, to the point that the game was in serious doubt heading into Friday’s round of testing, an undermanned Kansas State team was supposed to fade as the game moved into the later quarters. However it was the exact opposite as the Wildcats chipped away Oklahoma’s lead by forcing turnovers, producing big plays, and blocking punts.
Unfortunately we’ll have more to talk about this a bit later on but for now here’s some quick reactions/thoughts.
Rattler looked like a freshman
The pressure was real, both mentally and physically, and Rattler looked the part of a young quarterback playing in just his second collegiate game. I think the sky is still the limit for Rattler but if we had the notion that there wouldn’t be any growing pains then that’s over now. He’ll be a work in progress that will eventually pay huge dividends for Lincoln Riley.
Offensive line struggles continue
I said a few weeks ago on our podcast that Tyreese Robinson would be a name people would be talking about this season. I just didn’t realize it would be for so many holding penalties. Robinson was just one factor on an offensive line that struggled with the physicality of the K-State defense. Things got a little better when Anton Harrison was inserted but it’s safe to say that this isn’t the offensive line that we thought we were getting at the start of the season.
Oklahoma abandoned the run in the second half
Maybe it’s directly lined to the offensive line struggles. Maybe it was the pressure and game flow. Maybe it was a lack of trust. Maybe it was a combination of all of it. Whatever the reason, Lincoln Riley put this game on the shoulders of Spencer Rattler and it failed miserably.
Oklahoma only handed the ball to the running backs 9 times in the final two quarters per game. Yes, Seth McGowan fumbled once but he was also averaging 5.6 yards per carry. I feel like that’s a mistake Lincoln Riley is going to regret because as deep as the safeties were playing the rushing attack could have been effective and used more.
Defense regressed hard
The bottom line for the defense is that they completely collapsed. Any positives that we felt about this unit after the season opener have now been erased. Busted coverage, failing to wrap up, and slow pursuit to the edges all factored in to the K-State comeback.
Now, with that said, the offense shares part of the blame here. Only two scores in the second half, shutout in the fourth quarter, and a general funk trying to find a rhythm put an immense amount of pressure on the defense. Then there’s the turnovers and the blocked punt.
Turnovers were the difference
At the risk of sounding too simple, this is where the game was lost. Three interceptions by Rattler, a fumble by McGowan, a turnover on downs, and a blocked punt are a recipe for disaster against any level of competition. That led to 24 unanswered points and is the direct reason Oklahoma lost.
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