Texas coach Mack Brown sat solemnly behind the postgame dais in the Cotton Bowl, attempting to explain Saturday’s latest low in his team’s Red River Rivalry experiences against Oklahoma.
Moments after watching his team dominated in all phases of the game in a 63-21 defeat, Brown called it “unacceptable for Texas to lose like that to Oklahoma. Especially two years in a row.”
But it happened Saturday, with No. 13 Oklahoma (4-1, 2-1 in Big 12) dictating play for all four quarters against No. 15 Texas (4-2, 1-2) in remarkably similar fashion to what happened in last year’s 55-17 triumph.
For the first time in series history, Oklahoma has won back-to-back games over Texas by 38 or more points. And this one, said OU coach Bob Stoops, “certainly ranks up there in the same ballpark” with his other 60-something efforts against Brown-coached teams: a 65-13 victory in 2003, as well as a 63-14 rout in 2000.
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In many ways, Stoops said Saturday’s performance — which included 677 yards of offense, OU’s high-water mark in any game against Texas — could have been more lopsided if the Sooners had not emptied the bench and watched Texas score a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns against his backup defense. At the very least, said Sooners’ defensive end R.J. Washington, the Sooners should have opened the eyes of poll voters who questioned them after dropping a 24-19 decision to No. 6 Kansas State on Sept. 22.
“We had that step on their throat mentality,” said Washington, a Keller Fossil Ridge graduate. “I think we came out, made a statement, and just kind of silenced a lot of doubters. We had a lot of people make big plays.”
The most telling ones unfolded in the first half, when Oklahoma put the game away with a near-flawless 30 minutes that resulted in a 36-2 lead on the scoreboard and a 407-65 edge in total yards. The Sooners unleashed the longest run (95 yards) and longest pass completion (73 yards) in series history against the Longhorns during first-half touchdown drives.
The defense stymied an overmatched Texas offense, allowing the Longhorns only two first downs and two snaps in Sooners’ territory in the first 30 minutes. Both snaps from OU territory resulted in interceptions by Texas quarterback David Ash, who departed in the fourth quarter with a left wrist injury. His availability for next week’s contest against Baylor is unknown.
But Brown’s assessment of his offense, and his team, was clear.
“We were inept offensively,” said Brown, whose team managed just 140 yards — and no offensive points — in its first 13 drives with Ash at the helm. “They outcoached us. They outhit us. They were more physical than we were throughout the game I’m very disappointed, across the board.”
Texas’ loss raises questions about how well Texas’ second-year play-callers — co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz _ match up against their Oklahoma counterparts. Texas’ duo has been outscored by a combined margin of 118-38 as play-callers in the Red River Rivalry and Brown, who has a $3.5 million buyout in a contract that runs through 2020, is destined to hear plenty of grumbling from fans about his job status in the wake of a two-game losing streak that should remove Texas from next week’s Top 25 rankings.
Among the myriad Oklahoma heroes, Landry Jones threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns while collecting his 33rd career victory as a starting quarterback, a school record. Four different Sooners finished with 140 or more all-purpose yards, including tailback Damien Williams (22 carries, 167 yards), who had the 95-yard scoring run in the second quarter.
“We couldn’t stop the run,” said Texas defensive end Alex Okafor, whose team allowed a season-high 343 rushing yards. “When you can’t stop the run, things get ugly real quick.”
For Brown, there were no easy answers to explain Saturday’s blowout. He did not question his players’ effort, but said: “On offense, we weren’t out there long enough to quit ... I don’t know. It’s sure not pretty. It’s unacceptable.”
For the Sooners, it’s reason to revel. And it’s becoming a habit.
“This isn’t the first time we’ve won by such a big margin [against Texas],” Washington said. “It’s just big players make big plays in big games ... We’re going to enjoy this.”