Mental miscues, lack of discipline plague Oklahoma in loss to Baylor

The Oklahoma Sooners had opportunities to take control of the game in their 38-35 loss to the Baylor Bears but instead struggled to get out of their own way throughout a disappointing afternoon in Norman.

Dillon Gabriel threw three interceptions, and the Sooners failed to convert a fourth and short. Oklahoma was penalized eight times for 64 yards. While there were certainly issues with execution and Oklahoma struggled with the Bears physicality, they could have been better were it not for the mental miscues and lack of discipline in the loss.

“Yeah, they’re happening at the most inopportune time. We have to play with better discipline,” Brent Venables said after the game. “We have to be a disciplined football team. Make better decisions, put yourself in a better position, don’t panic in the most critical moments. There’s a bunch of situational things where you have to have a focused intensity about you. This is an intense game, but you have to have great focus to you. Whether they are false starts, the holdings, hands to the face, or a pass interference. All those things add up.”

At the end of the first half, as the Sooners were driving to get into scoring range, Oklahoma had two penalties on a play that Dillon Gabriel picked up a ton of yardage with his legs. There was a holding call on the offensive line, which would have brought the play back, but it was Andrew Raym’s illegal hands-to-the-face penalty that pushed the Sooners to the fringe of Zach Schmit’s field goal range.

Schmit hadn’t attempted a field goal of more than 50 yards all season, and he wasn’t able to hit from 55 to tie the game going into halftime.

In the third quarter, David Ugwoegbu strung Craig Williams to the left and brought him down for a five-yard loss to set up what would have been a 3rd and 13 in the red zone. A personal foul penalty on Isaiah Coe during some after-the-whistle extra-curricular activities set Baylor up with a 1st and goal from the seven-yard line instead.

Jalen Redmond responded with a tackle for loss on first down to make it 2nd and goal from the eight. But then C.J. Coldon, who didn’t look for the ball interfered with Baylor wide receiver Hal Presley, and the ball was placed at the two-yard line giving the Bears a fresh set of downs.

That entire sequence was a microcosm of the entire day for the Oklahoma Sooners. Just when it looked like they were on the verge of turning the game in their favor, they shot themselves in the foot.

Throughout the game, Baylor capitalized on Oklahoma’s mistakes, taking advantage of the penalties and scoring 10 points off of turnovers.

“In wins, we’re able to overcome it,” Venables said. “In five wins, we had good discipline. In four losses, we did not. We have to be more disciplined. I have been talking about discipline for 11 months. It starts with the coaches getting the players to play with more discipline. And then the players, in the moment, playing with discipline. I’ve seen moments we’ve played with great discipline. And then plenty of critical situations where we didn’t. The ones we didn’t, they made them paid for.”

The Baylor Bears played well on Saturday, but Oklahoma was good enough to win the game. But you can’t shoot yourself in the foot as often as Oklahoma did in this game and expect to win. The penalties and the turnovers are too much to overcome. They haven’t been good enough to overcome mistakes, especially as many as they made on Saturday.

Not many teams would be able to.

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Story originally appeared on Sooners Wire