NORMAN- Lost in the collapse against Kansas State on Saturday, the Oklahoma Sooners played a lot of good football.
When Seth McGowan’s touchdown run put his Sooners up by 21 points with just 2:46 left in the third quarter, the game looked all but wrapped up. While unacceptable, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said the mistakes leading to the loss can be fixed.
“When we look at it, I think that the mistakes that we made on all the sides are correctable,” Riley said. “When you go back and look at it, it’s not like you say ‘this one thing cost us’ or ‘this one side of the ball was so bad.’ Both sides really played some really quality ball.”
Oklahoma out-gained the Wildcats by 117 yards, were an efficient 7-of-12 on third downs to Kansas State’s 2-of-11, and contained their opponents for the entire first half.
Untimely penalties and turnovers ultimately proved costly for the Sooners.
“You can outplay a team all you want for as long as you want, but if you lose the turnover margin big, that equalizes the whole thing in a hurry,” Riley said.
The Sooners turned the ball over four times, including freshman phenom Spencer Rattler throwing three interceptions, as well as conceding a blocked punt in the fourth quarter.
“85-90 percent of what [Rattler] did was either really good or fabulous on Saturday but a couple of mistakes really really cost us, our offense, our team,” Riley said. “So he’s got to learn from those, learn from the entire situation.”
“This is just the natural evolution of a quarterback.”
Offensive tackle Adrian Ealy said the offensive line can play better and help their young quarterback.
“It’s our job to make sure [Rattler] is comfortable, to make sure he don’t feel no type of pressure,” Ealy said. “We’re approaching this week to make sure he don’t feel that way again.”
Riley highlighted penalties as the biggest area of improvement the Sooners need to see out of the offensive line against Iowa State.
“A couple of times we got out of the pocket and put our guys in tough positions, but we had a couple of just unnecessary holding penalties that all seemed to be on pretty big plays,” Riley said.
Ealy said continued work could help the offensive line come out with a different mentality against Iowa State.
“All we can do is attack the week and get better every day,” Ealy said.
On the defensive side of the ball, a handful of mistakes gifted Kansas State big chunk plays, turning the tide for the Wildcats.
“Kansas State in the second half did a good job of making us pay,” Riley said. “We didn’t make honestly that many, but the ones we made were big ones and they made us pay for it.”
Riley warned the defense will have to be diligent in correcting those mistakes over the next few weeks, as the Sooners stare down experienced quarterbacks who can make any defense pay for missed tackles and blown coverages.
“We have to be better but very correctable and confident that our guys will get that done,” Riley said.
Coming off the heels of a head scratching loss, Riley said his team is ready to correct their errors in Ames against the Cyclones.
“Saturday at 6:30 p.m. cannot get here soon enough,” Riley said.