Immediately after the game, while returning to the car, I had that familiar sick feeling that I've had after the home losses I've attended: OSU in 2001, TCU in 2005, K-State this year, etc.
I was mad at the refs.
I thought our linemen on both sides of the ball got pushed around.
I was mad at Josh Heupel.
I was mad at Mike because the defense again wilted in the fourth.
I thought Stoops coached a tight, conservative ballgame, unlike the whooping we put on Texas a couple of weeks ago.
Then, amazingly, I decided to watch the recording of the game when I got home. Weird how different it looked the second time. In reality:
The refs did make a couple of mistakes but not the ones I thought they made in the stadium.
Our linemen did get pushed around a bit, but not by a big measure. Our o-line kept Landry's jersey pretty clean and our d-line was not the problem on defense.
Heupel called a decent game. Not great by any standards, but a decent game nonetheless. We moved the ball all over the field and had nearly 400 yards of offense against a very talented defense. We couldn't run the ball, but that is a credit to Notre Dame.
Our defense did a very solid job. We did far better against their running game than it looked to me in the stadium. They did wilt in the fourth when we needed a stop the most but for the most part they played a very good game.
As for Bob Stoops, I don't think he can be blamed for this loss per se. He did get very upset at that ref for taking Bell's TD off the board, and I agree with him. Why, for example, didn't the ref even say who the holding penalty was called on? The whole thing was mystifying. One key difference I noted was how calm and composed Kelly seemed while Stoops seemed agitated and angry, even berating Undule at one point.
Takeaway: it was a great football game. If I were a casual football fan with no allegiances it would have been fun to watch. As a Sooner fan it sucked to lose, but we lost to a very good team.
We also have a very good team. We are very physical and hit just as hard as Notre Dame. Losing a couple of key players on our offensive line before the season started (and losing Kasitati during the season) may have made a difference in our o-line's overall strength.
As a fan of college football, I was thrilled to have gone to the game. The Sooner fans were outstanding and the atmosphere was electric. Wish we would have come out on the other side.