By Shawn Hein
NORMAN — Zac Robinson suffered a case of deja vu he would rather not recall.
The Oklahoma State quarterback fumbled on a key fourth-and-goal play last season in the Cowboys’ 27-21 loss to Oklahoma, which gave the Sooners the Big 12 South title.
It happened again on Saturday.
The circumstances were different, but the giveaway was just as costly.
Trailing 21-7 early in the second quarter, the Cowboys were driving into the red zone and ready to hold serve in what looked like an offensive shootout. OSU had first-and-goal at the OU 1, but Julius Crosslin was stonewalled twice and Robinson was stopped just short on third down.
Just a quarter and a half into the game, OSU already was facing a do-or-die possession. Robinson took the snap and tried to run it in over the right side. Appearing to be stopped short, Robinson reached for the goal line with the ball in his right arm.
Kingfisher native Curtis Lofton hit Robinson and was credited with forcing a fumble, which was recovered by D.J. Wolfe and returned to the 13.
No. 10 OU went on to 49-17 rout of the Cowboys, repeating as Big 12 South champions.
Under most circumstances, the call to go for the touchdown would have been preposterous. A field goal would have kept OSU within arm’s reach at 21-10 with 6:24 left in the first half.
But head coach Mike Gundy’s decision to go for six may have had more to do with his own defense’s inadequacies rather than the Cowboys’ offense.
OSU trailed by just 14 at the time and was nowhere near stopping OU. The Sooners shredded the Cowboys’ defense on their first three drives to the tune of 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Following Robinson’s fumble, OU proceeded to make it four for four with an 87-yard touchdown drive.
OU, which was without leading rusher DeMarco Murray, continued to gash holes in the OSU defense with its rushing attack. The Sooners had 194 yards rushing in the first half alone.
Allen Patrick ran for 142 yards in the first two quarters and finished with 202. Chris Brown added 41 more on the ground in the first half as OU moved the ball at will.
Even freshman quarterback Sam Bradford, whose status was in doubt just 48 hours earlier, was flawless one week after being knocked out of the Texas Tech game.
Bradford was 6 for 7 passing in the first half for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Bradford’s only incompletion came on a dropped pass by Dane Zaslaw in the end zone.
OU was not forced to punt until its first possession of the third quarter.
One of the Cowboys’ few defensive highlights came in the third quarter when Jacob Lacey intercepted a Bradford pass and returned it to the OU 1. Dantrell Savage scored on the next play to give OSU a glimmer of a chance, trailing just 28-17 with 4:24 left.
But just when the Cowboys had some momentum, the OSU defense returned to form.
OU marched down the field for a nine-play scoring drive, capped by Bradford’s 12-yard touchdown strike to Joe Jon Finley.
Robinson’s fumble was just part of OSU’s problems inside the red zone. The Cowboys had a first down at OU’s 13 on their final offensive series of the second quarter. But after three plays netted just three yards, OSU had to settle for a Dan Bailey 28-yard field goal.
On the first series of the third quarter, Bailey missed a 40-yard field goal attempt when the ball bounced off the right goal post. But with the way OU moved the ball against the Cowboys’ defense, field goals were like bringing pillows to a gun fight.
Hein is a News & Eagle sports writer.
By Shawn Hein
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