This is the first game all year where we were so clearly overmatched in both the offensive line and defensive line. Taylor’s interception right before the half was a key “swing” play, coming on a pass attempt on 3rd and 2. The thing that bothers me the most about this play was that it came right after a timeout.
If Taylor doesn’t throw the pick to make the score 21-3, and/or doesn’t overthrow Swift at the end, it’s a different game with us likely winning. There must be a huge gap between him and our #2 guy, because Taylor never gets yanked, no matter how ineffective he is. Even if he is our guy at QB, it might do him some good to be on the sidelines for at least a series or two. All last year, I presumed the reason Callahan wouldn’t make a QB change was simply because of a lack of talent. This year, there is considerable talent. But our team is so underwhelming, no one but Taylor ever gets in the game. Maybe because we’re headed toward another mediocre record, Callahan might consider giving someone else a try.
It’s funny how the TV and radio announcers always remind the audience that Callahan scripts the first 15 plays on offense—and then we proceed to go three and out, three and out, three and out, three and out, and three and out. Meanwhile, the score is 14-0 (or something similar). Likewise, Cosgrove seems content to spot the opposition a TD on their opening drive. Is this a talent issue? Four games in a row?
The disappearance of our running game obviously doesn’t help things. We need to quit getting down so early. It seems like against all of the good teams we’ve played, we have a slow start and get behind on the scoreboard. Taylor is good enough to bring us back somewhat, but it’s never quite enough.
A few things about the fake field goal: The whole reason Ruud was lined up beyond the line is to watch for fakes. He got caught napping. Even if a player doesn’t think to be on his toes for something like that, good coaching would warn him to be on the lookout. Didn’t happen. Our FG block efforts have been exceptional this year, but you can only go to the well so many times. OU coaches rightly caught us overloading and going for another block. As bad as OU’s FG attempts were throughout the game, we should have been on the lookout for a fake. It’s not like the play they ran, with the kicker running the ball, was all that complicated.
Now it should also be noted that the play before the field goal, there was blatant holding on Le Kevin Smith which was not called. This non-call preceded the one on the next play after the fake--the one that got Callahan all up in arms after they scored their TD. If the hold on Smith is called—and again it was rather obvious—OU is back another 10 yards and probably ends up out of field goal range. This is just the kind of game it was. There was also a pass “reception” of OU’s (a bobbled ball) along the sideline on a key drive. One wonders why the college game even has replay, if they aren’t going to use it. Guess it’s the “right” call if no one ever reviews it. You know…the Penn St. rule and all that.
I have rarely seen Bullocks miss tackles like he did on OU’s Peterson. Either Peterson is that good, or Bullocks underestimated him. This was a game where our defense really never rose to the occasion. A key sack or takeaway was sorely needed, but it just didn’t happen. Our safety’s missed tackles on Peterson accounted for most of their rushing yards. Bomar played one of the best games of his career, throwing against our secondary. Green needs to “seize the moment” when he finds himself in the rare position to make an interception. All the little things add up.
It’s hard to fathom how Kansas beat Missouri. Missouri must not bring their “A” game every week. Either that or Kansas has broken out of their shell, which is kind of a scary thought. Still, they are one of the few Big 12 teams now regarded as lightly as us. (An aside: It’s disappointing that in a world where poker games are televised and all kinds of odd 24-hour channels are on the air, college and network people can somehow rationalize not having games like NU-KU and NU-KSU broadcast at all.)
We need either a breakout game from a running back, some inspired quarterback play, or a return to dominant defense to win in Lawrence. If we get all three, we win comfortably. We need at least one of the three to avoid another loss.
The voice of Scarlet Commentary is Jeffrey A. Leever, a Nebraska native also stuck behind enemy lines in Jefferson County, Colo. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Nebraska (Kearney) and a freelance writer and author. Some of Jeff’s writings of the nonfootball kind can be found online at Barnes & Noble (1, 2), Amazon.com (1, 2), and MenofIntegrity.net (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.