Sooners rout Longhorns, look to reclaim poll votes
Oklahoma had no trouble against their rivals from Texas in the annual Red River Rivalry, and they hope it sends a message to the voters, who dropped Oklahoma each of the previous two weeks in the Associated Press poll. The Sooners routed Texas 55-17 as Landry Jones passed for 367 yards and three touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl. Oklahoma’s defense forced five Texas turnovers in the dominating show.
Now the question is whether or not the performance will sway some votes back in their direction.
“I don’t know that that’s necessary,” Oklahoma head coachBob Stoops said after the game. “It is certainly not on my mind. Don’t get me wrong, we want to come here and play as absolutely well as we can, and I thought we did that. My point is we aren’t sitting here saying we have to win by this or that, we just want to play the best we can. We have a lot of confidence, and were building. It’s only our fifth game, and we feel we still can be better.”
Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles was the only player in the game for either team to go over 100 receiving yards, ending his day with 122 yards and one touchdown. Kenny Stillscame through with a pair of touchdown passes as well for the Sooners. Texas freshman receiver Jaxson Shipley led the Longhorns in receiving with 89 yards and scored the only touchdown of the day for Texas.
Oklahoma got off to slow start but took a 6-3 lead in to the second quarter, when the Sooners exploded on the scoreboard, taking advantage of opportunities handed over by the young Longhorns. Stills and Broyles caught touchdown passes from Jones within four minutes of each other andDemontre Hurst returned an interception 55 yards for a third touchdown late in the first half. Foswhitt Whittaker returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, matching the longest return in Texas history and just the 15th time the Longhorns returned a kickoff for a touchdown.
Whittaker’s touchdown was one of four non-offensive touchdowns scored in the game, but unfortunately for Texas the other three went the way of their rivals from above the border. In addition to Hurst’s interception return for a score,David King returned a fumble 19 yards and Jamel Flemingreturned a fumble 56 yards for scores.
“Can’t have five turnovers and win games,” Texas head coach Mack Brown said. “We had said we needed to win the turnover ratio coming in. We had to win the penalties coming in. We had to win the red zone coming in, and we had to win third-downs and I’m not sure we won any of them. I think we lost all of them. And those were the four chances for us to win the game.”
Neither team ran the football particularly well, with Oklahoma out-gaining Texas on the ground just 86-36 but the Sooners averaged 4.5 yards per carry while the Longhorns were held to 0.8 yards per attempt. Oklahoma proved that their defense against the run is aggressive and recorded eight sacks on the afternoon.
“We’ve worked all those blitzes at different times through the year, so really we were just doing what we do,” Stoops said. “I thought the guys did an excellent job executing them, and then forcing turnovers and making the plays that they did.”
While Oklahoma will look to regain some national respect against their biggest threat form the SEC, LSU and Alabama, Texas will go back to the drawing board to reassess where they are in rebounding from a bowl-less season in 2010. Texas lost their first game of the season and had a good opportunity just how far they still have to go before getting back in to a national title contender role they were in just a few years ago. The quarterback rotation of Case McCoy andDavid Ash will continue to develop following the season-ending injury and scholarship release of Garrett Gilbert this week. Against Oklahoma, both McCoy and Ash were up against a gauntlet and struggled.
“I think a game like this will help them,” Brown said about his young quarterbacks.” The speed of the game, [and Oklahoma’s] got great players. They did a great job mixing up their coverages and their blitzes, and were around them a lot. So it’ll have to help them down the road. And they’ll be more ready for this next week when they see a really good Oklahoma State defense.”
Oklahoma travels to Kansas for a Big 12 match-up next week. The Jayhawks were blown out by Oklahoma State, 70-28, in Stillwater. Kansas struck first but Oklahoma State scored 35 first-quarter points and led at halftime 56-7.
For the Longhorns, they will hope to put up a better fight against those same Oklahoma State Cowboys. Texas hosts Oklahoma State next weekend.