After No. 9 Oklahoma's (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) ugly 42-41 win over Iowa State (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) Saturday night, senior quarterback Jalen Hurts was candid for one of the few times all season.
Typically, he's short and to the point. But not Saturday. He shouldered much of the blame for the offense's struggles and explained his mindset in depth.
"You look at this game here, as a team you say, 'We definitely put ourselves in a horrible situation,' and I look at myself in the mirror and I say, 'I put us in a horrible situation,'" Hurts said. "I could have done better, especially in that second half, of executing our offense and just keeping things alive. Converting on third downs and making smart decisions I always make."
Statistically, Hurts had a spectacular day. Through the air, he was 18-of-26 with 273 passing yards and three touchdowns. On the ground, he ran the ball 22 times for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
But Hurts made near-fatal mistakes. In the first half, he threw two passes that should have been intercepted and returned for touchdowns. And in the fourth quarter with less than three minutes to play and only a one-score lead, he threw his worst interception of the season.
Hurts knows he has to be better.
“I mean I touch the ball every play. I distribute the ball every play. It’s in my hands every play," Hurts said. "People ask me why I carry myself the way I do, why I handle myself the way I do, why I go about my business the way I do, and why I try and lead the way I do, why I may work out after every game ... It’s because I take it personal. I want it so bad for this team, as a leader, as the quarterback — I’m willing to lay out, I’m willing to lay it all on the line for them."
Hurts is not going to be Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray, that's for certain. He's going to make mistakes, and some costly ones at that. And he's probably not going to win the Heisman Trophy, as LSU's Joe Burrow seems to be running away with it.
But no one can question his leadership, because he may just be the reason this team doesn't fall apart.
"Me being the player I am, I know I can definitely control the outcome of a game, and how the game flows and all of that, so there’s a lot to learn from," Hurts said. "But you know, regardless of how this whole thing went tonight, I look at myself in the mirror and I say, 'Well (Jalen), you could have did this, you could have did that, but your brothers had your back.'
"So we going to build from this, we're going to enjoy this as much as we can, and try and be 1-0 next week, like we were this week.”