Red Zone Woes

OU running back DeMarco Murray

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Championship caliber teams do not leave points on the field. When they have a chance to score, whether it is a touchdown or a field goal, they take advantage of those opportunities.

But, the Sooners were unable to accomplish that in their 36-27 loss to the No. 11 Missouri Tigers on Saturday night.

OU (6-1, 2-1 Big 12) made six appearances in the red zone, but it walked away with points in just three of those trips. The Sooners scored three touchdowns from within the Tigers' 20 yard line, but what they did when they did not cross the goal line turned out to be more costly than those touchdowns were effective.

The first failed attempt came in the first quarter when redshirt sophomore quarterback Landry Jones threw an interception after the offense had driven the ball to Missouri's 12-yard line. The Tigers returned the interception deep into OU territory and ended their drive with a touchdown.

Senior running back DeMarco Murray had an opportunity to score on the play before when Jones found him crossing the field with no one within sight to prevent him from getting into the end zone, but he was unable to stay on his feet and helped the Tigers' defense in having the opportunity to get the turnover.

There's the first 10-to-14 point swing.

On the next drive, senior running back Mossis Madu fumbled the ball in the second quarter on Missouri's 14 yard line after trying to do too much on a screen pass that had been stuffed in the backfield. OU's defense made a stand against the Tigers' offense on the following drive, but that is still three to seven points that the Sooners' could have had.

OU trailed the Tigers 17-14 at halftime despite outgaining them by 102 yards in the first two quarters. But, those two turnovers allowed Missouri to take control of the game rather than planning during the break on how to adjust to get back into the game.

And the missed opportunities did not stop there. Junior kicker Jimmy Stevens shanked a 30-yard field goal wide left early in the third quarter that would have tied the game at 17 all.

The Tigers turned that missed field goal attempt into a made field goal, ironically from the same distance, and took a six-point lead. Again, there's a six-point swing in Missouri's favor.

The points the Sooners left on the field and gave to Missouri could have given them a victory, but those points were not scored and they found themselves on the losing side. Turnovers kill, and head coach Bob Stoops knows that's what did his team in Saturday.

"We turned the ball over," said Stoops, who suffered his first loss against Missouri as OU's leader. "In the end, we can't turn the ball over. That was a big factor in the game."

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