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Night of the Hunter: Baylor brings the dagger to Oklahoma’s BCS revival

Matt Hinton
Dr. Saturday

Baylor 45, Oklahoma 38.
Oklahoma's championship dream has been crushed, again, and as always, there are more than enough devils in the details. Its leading rusher and receiver were both out to injuries. The offense committed three turnovers. Improbable bounces went Baylor's way. A two-point attempt to go ahead at the end of regulation was foiled by a false start. On the final drive of the game, OU coaches decided to call timeout on defense with less than a minute to play, setting up Baylor's push for the winning touchdown when the Bears had been content to play for overtime. There were key drops, flags and blown assignments.

But there is still no way around the central fact of the night: For the second time in less than a month, a double-digit underdog reduced the Oklahoma secondary to a gauntlet of flimsy paper ribbons flapping in the breeze, occasionally taking time to set some of them on fire. And for the second time in less than a month, Oklahoma plummets from the BCS championship picture, this time with no hope of a second chance.

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Given another opportunity to distance themselves from the most inexplicable collapse of the year against Texas Tech,  the Sooners staged a reenactment.

After a slow start, Baylor launched six touchdown drives over the final two-and-a-half quarters, all of them covering at least 70 yards, and all but one of them covering it in five plays or less. Three of the Bears' scoring drives — including the game-winner, capped by a 34-yard strike from Robert Griffin III to Terrance Williams with 28 seconds remaining — took less than a minute. Altogether, Griffin's career night left him with 562 total yards as a passer and runner and the highest pass efficiency rating (218.7) ever recorded against a Sooner defense under Bob Stoops.

That list goes on, by the way. Griffin's 478 yards passing was the most ever recorded against a Sooner defense under Bob Stoops. Baylor's 616 total yards was the most ever recorded against a Sooner defense under Bob Stoops. The only team that's scored more than 45 points against a Sooner defense under Bob Stoops was Matt Leinart-led USC in the 2005 Orange Bowl, a game that's subsequently been stricken from the books. For all the good it does, the fact that Landry Jones and the Sooner offense essentially matched Baylor's onslaught blow-for-blow might as well join it.

So it's official, again: Oklahoma is too vulnerable on defense, and will not be playing for a national championship as a result. Oklahoma State is too vulnerable on defense, and will not be playing for a national championship. Oregon is too vulnerable on defense, and will not be playing for a national championship. Clemson, given the only set of circumstances that could have possibly thrust it into the conversation, is too vulnerable on defense and will not be playing for a national championship. On one of the bloodiest 24 hours in the history of the BCS, only one team is left standing, and even that's not certain for long.

The only certainty now is: If you have a weakness — in the secondary, in the kicking game, under center — it will be exploited, eventually, and you will not survive.

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Matt Hinton is on Facebook and Twitter: Follow him @DrSaturday.

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