The good news that came from today is that at least that Iowa State loss isn’t as bad as well all anticipated. It doesn’t change the fact that we played awful at home against the Cyclones, but at least they whooped TCU, too. As I pivot to the rundown on our game, I’ll be frank that I didn’t have big expectations going into this game. Baker Mayfield had one last shot to stick it to Kinsgbury, and he delivered a solid game. Strangely enough though, our run defense let us down. We allowed 336 yards, 7.1 yards/carry, and three touchdowns to an assortment of running backs from Oklahoma. We’ll see what happens next week against Kansas State, but not having Jah’Shawn Johnson for a half is going to hurt a lot.
With that, I’ll dive into highlights/lowlights.
Tre King - Very clearly, King was your MVP, and it’s not particularly close. This guy has steadily improved all season, and has turned into a steal for the Red Raiders. While he doesn’t have the top end speed that Stockton has, he does have the wiggle to make the first man miss. He’ll be crucial against the Wildcats next week.
Nic Shimonek - He is what he is at this point. He’ll make some unbelievable plays that make you say wow, but then he’ll miss a wide open receiver. Unfortunately, if we get behind the chains, he’s not the kind of guy to get us rolling again. I don’t see any scenario that Kingsbury pivots to McLane Carter, so get comfortable with Shimonek.
TJ Vasher - Shimonek missed him on a few routes, but he played extremely well. This guy is going to be a monster in the Big 12, and he’s only improving. Also, with Derrick Willies potentially being done as a Red Raider, you better get used to Mr. Vasher.
Keke Coutee - I think he’s over that knee injury, but it’s a crime that Shimonek can’t get him the ball in space more. That 70 yard touchdown was beautiful to watch. I love nothing more than seeing Coutee with some space, hopefully he’ll get a few more opportunities next week.
Cam Batson - He made two elite touchdown catches, but was mostly invisible otherwise. It appears as if Shimonek doesn’t look to Batson like Mahomes did, but he’s still electric with the ball when given his opportunities.
Justus Parker - This guy is a bonafide ball hawk, and likely the first cornerback to have three interceptions in I don’t know how long. It’s truly a miracle that he wound up in Lubbock from a D3 school. I can’t imagine what this defense would be without him.
Kicking Game - That missed extra point was brutal, per the usual. Also, the punting game is severely disappointing. I’d be surprised if Pannazzolo is your punter next year. This group turning things around would be massive for your morale.
Jah’Shawn Johnson - I think he got screwed over a bit on that targeting call. CeeDee Lamb dipped his head, and there wasn’t much Johnson could do. Nevertheless, we didn’t get the call and we’ll miss Jah’Shawn against K-State.
Defensive Line - I wouldn’t say this group flashed much at all. Sure, Eli Howard had a big play or two, but they were subdued for the most part. Given, Oklahoma does have an elite offensive line, but you’d have liked to see a better push against the run.
Linebackers - A couple big hits, specifically I recall Jordyn Brooks knocking an OU player pretty hard, but this group couldn’t shed blocks well enough to limit the Sooners on key third downs. I won’t lose much sleep about this unit though, because they’ve delivered most every other week.
Defensive Backs - I’d say they didn’t miss a ton of tackles, had above average coverage, and were what they were. CeeDee Lamb made a few of our guys look foolish, but that’s what an elite talent can do. I will say this, Dorsey has got to stop getting late hit calls, they’re absolutely brutal to morale, and tend to pop up when teams approach the red zone.
I’m not hanging my head too much after this one. I knew we weren’t likely to win, and we were outclassed by a better team. Next week is an entirely different story, should we not win - you can kiss the idea of a bowl away. Also, to be blunt, Kingsbury will also likely be done if we lose. Quite a lot a stake.