ATLANTA — That was ugly.
No. 4 Oklahoma suffered an embarrassing loss to No. 1 LSU in the College Football Playoff by a score of 63-28 on Saturday. The loss ended the Sooners' season, and now they will look ahead to a 2020 year with a new starting quarterback.
Here are three takeaways from the loss:
Slow start costs Sooners
Against a Goliath like LSU, the Sooners needed to play their best game of the season from the beginning, and they simply didn't do that.
Oklahoma started the game with the ball and a three-and-out, then LSU proceeded to score a touchdown in three plays to take an early 7-0 lead. The Sooners were able to tie it up shortly after, but a 28-0 run by the Tigers all but ended the game before halftime.
The Sooners couldn't recover from their early struggles, which ultimately doomed their chances in this game and ended their season.
Young players get in-game experience
With the mountain of injuries and Brendan "Bookie" Radley-Hiles' ejection, some young Sooners had the opportunity to come in and get valuable experience on a big stage.
Freshman safety Woodi Washington, who had only six tackles on the year, played for much of the second quarter and second half after Radley-Hiles left the game. Freshmen Theo Wease Jr., Jadon Haselwood and Austin Stogner made catches in the second half, all of whom flashed their potential at times this year.
Although the Sooners would rather not have had to play their young prospects in a blowout, a silver lining in the loss could be that they all had the opportunity to get their feet wet on the sport's biggest stage.
On to 2020
After the loss, the Sooners will now turn their heads to next season, which will feature a team full of fresh faces and new contributors.
The most impactful change will be the new starting quarterback, who will likely be freshman Spencer Rattler. The former five-star prospect will enter his first season as a starter with as much hype as any young Sooner quarterback in recent memory, and he'll have a plethora of weapons at his disposal. Freshmen Haselwood, Wease Jr., Stogner and Trejan Bridges all showed promise at various points in the season, and they will all have the opportunity for increased roles next year.
Rattler is known for his elite arm talent and passing ability, so fans could possibly expect to see more passing from Riley and the Sooners next season. But regardless of what the scheme looks like, the Sooners will have the talent to once again be one of the nation's most prolific offenses.
Defensively, the Sooners will return key contributors such as cornerback Tre Brown, safety Pat Fields and linebackers DaShaun White and Caleb Kelly, among others. Washington and freshman safety Jeremiah Criddell, both former four-star recruits, will also have the opportunity to get more reps next season. Just as with the offense, there is reason to hope the Sooners will continue to improve in year two of defensive coordinator Alex Grinch's tenure.