Turnovers lead to Sooners’ downfall against K-State

By Dillon Phillips

Turnovers kill teams. It’s as simple as that.

They have the power to nullify spectacular offensive performances and shift the momentum from one team to the other.

Saturday night, turnovers cost the Oklahoma football team the game.

The Sooners lost its first game of the 2012 season — and first home game to ranked team under coach Bob Stoops — to Kansas State, 24-19. And it was a case of the turnover bug that led to the Sooners’ demise.

“Turning the football over — it’s going to kill you,” Stoops said. “You have to take care of the ball. That’s a mindset; it’s a discipline; it’s being able to do it.”

In a back-and-forth game that featured sloppy play by both sides, Oklahoma had three turnovers that proved to be the difference in the game: a Blake Bell fumble inside the Kansas State five-yard line, a Landry Jones fumble in the shadow of his own end zone and an interception that Jones threw off his back foot.

The two fumbles, especially, contributed to the Sooners’ loss.

“You just can’t win like that,” Stoops said. “That’s a 14-point swing in a tight game against a really good team.”

Jones, who was extremely critical of his performance, shouldered the blame for the loss.

“We played really dumb football, me especially,” Jones said. “The fumble, the pick, missed [junior tight end Brannon Green] on the tight end pop play. A lot of different plays were left up to me.”

When asked about his quarterback’s play, Stoops answered honestly: He said Jones didn’t play very well, but he was quick to mention other players’ mistakes as well.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say Landry Jones (was responsible for the loss),” Stoops said. “I think it’s fair to say the guys around him also were inconsistent.”

Jones’ most detrimental turnover — his fumble — came on a play where Jones tried to roll out of the pocket and buy some time to throw the ball downfield.

But as the pocket broke down, Jones never saw Kansas State senior linebacker Justin Tuggie, who stripped the ball from behind as he flung Jones to the ground. The Wildcats scooped up the ball in the end zone to take a 7-3 lead.

“[Jones] had plenty of time (to get rid of the ball),” Stoops said. “He read it all out. Even when he was pulling it down, starting to do something with it, he had no immediate pressure. We got to get rid of the football.”

Although turnovers were the main culprit in OU’s loss, inconsistency on offensive plagued the Sooners all night.

“It’s kind of uncharacteristic stuff for us there,” junior center Gabe Ikard said. “We just put the defense in bad spots. That game, the offense we played, we didn’t play well enough for this team to win the game.”

Despite the loss, the Sooners have plenty of time to right the ship with another bye next week — something offensive coordinator Josh Heupel hopes to take advantage of.

“We are not where we need to be by any stretch of the imagination and anywhere we’re capable of being,” Heupel said. “Things have got to change. We have to come back Monday and need to refocus.”

Read more here: http://oudaily.com/news/2012/sep/23/ou-football/
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