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Sooners must learn to close out games

DALLAS   I was going to start off this column with a parody of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme, but to my colleague Kyle Vrska's liking, Baker Mayfield prevented such a cringe-worthy idea from hitting the press.

However, it probably wouldn't have been as cringey as Oklahoma's offense performance in the second half.

For the second-straight week, the Oklahoma offense stalled in the second half, and if it weren't for the heroics of the Heisman hopeful, the Sooners (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) would've left Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas with yet another head-scratching loss, this time to Texas.

Despite his own struggles, Mayfield made a play when it mattered the most, finding a wide-open Mark Andrews for a 54-yard touchdown to give OU a 29-24 lead with 6:53 remaining in the ballgame.

Mayfield finished 302 yards and two touchdowns on 17-of-27 passing. He also threw his first interception of the season.

That score was the only touchdown the Sooners managed in the latter quarters, much like the Iowa State game last week. They tacked on a field goal this time, though, making their performance a tad more respectable depending on what you consider good football. 

OU has tallied only 16 points in the second halves of the past two games   an embarrassing number by typical Sooner standards.

Although OU somehow survived Texas' furious 24-9 run, problems have been mounting since the Ohio State win on Sept. 9. The question is why?

The Sooners looked like world beaters after the win in Columbus, Ohio, and though that contest was just more than a month ago, that team looks to be long gone at this point. What happened?

Is it complacency? Or have other teams simply figured out the formula to slowing down the once-potent offensive machine?

Perhaps the team is more focused on its (slim) chances to make the College Football Playoff, but even that doesn't make sense if Mayfield was telling the truth following the game.

"For us, it's a singular focus," Mayfield said. "The thought of the College Football Playoff is not what's running through your head right there. It's about doing your job and winning that game."

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