AMES, Iowa - How did No. 4 Oklahoma manage to do everything but lose Saturday afternoon at Jack Trice Stadium. Well, let us count the ways.
1. Sam Bradford was not himself. Though not off by much, his receivers did him absolutely no favors. Not unlike the Colorado loss, he received no help.
2. For a half, the offensive line failed to run block. If it happens again, it's a trend.
3. Turnovers. Twice, running backs were stripped, Allen Patrick then DeMarco Murray, and tight end Jermaine Gresham let a ball in the numbers pop up and out and into a Cyclone's hands.
4. Michael Cohen's 14-yard punt.
Now, flip it.
What did OU do well to win.
1. The defense held and held and held.
2. Garrett Hartley kicked maybe the field goal of his life. Just 43 yards, though into the wind, it comes on the heels of massive struggles, including several botched point afters, all of them following, to just that point, his being one of the most accurate kickers in Sooner history.
As for the Cyclones, well, they're the picture of resliency. Maybe no 1-6 team in the nation is playing so hard. Its not much, but it's something and it's made more relevant by the fact that this is Gene Chizik's first season in Ames. Clearly, they're buying in. Likely, one more loss will sting, yet this kind of challenge to the nation's fourth-ranked team may well be remembered in the months and years to come as some kind of turning point, provided Chizik ultimately finds some success here among the cornfields.
A few stats:
Bradford: 17 of 29 for 178 yards with a pick and no scores
Meyer: 18 of 31 for 167 with a pick and no socores.
DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown combined for 156 yards on 13 carries, with Brown scoring twice. Iowa State's Jason Scales spent the day running into OU's defense, carrying 22 times for 47.
The Sooners are 7-1 (3-1 Big 12), by a whisker.
The Cyclones are 1-6 (0-3) but have hope.