I don’t know if Texas is officially back yet – or what even constitutes “back.” After Saturday’s slugfest in the Cotton Bowl, I do think the Red River Shootout is.
Oklahoma’s 29-24 victory over the hated Longhorns just felt different than what we’ve seen in Dallas every year for the better part of a decade. The two teams traded haymakers for four quarters and made big plays at key moments. Quite simply, the game was played at a higher level than it has been in many years.
The Sooners squandered plenty of opportunities to put the game out of reach in the first half, which would have made for a far less stressful afternoon. Yet, the fact that UT didn’t lay down actually speaks to where the rivalry appears to be headed. The ‘Horns showed stones to get back in the game, and Texas coach Tom Herman and his staff did a great job managing the action to give their team a chance to win.
Of course, as has so often been the case in the last couple decades, OU brought the superior team to Big D this year. Too often, the Sooners settled for field goals instead of finding paydirt, enabling UT to sneak through enough cracked doors to manufacture a chance to win. The stats paint a picture of a game that OU controlled, though. Notably, the Sooners outgained UT by 90 yards (518 to 428) despite running 15 fewer offensive plays (67 to 82). The late heroics of Baker Mayfield and Mark Andrews shouldn’t have been necessary, but OU still marched down the field for the clinching score when called upon.
It’s best when OU wins, but I’ll take more games like this going forward. Great start to the Lincoln Riley-Tom Herman era.
*If we’re naming a player of the game, my vote goes to Austin Seibert. He was damn near perfect kicking and punting. In addition to drilling three field goals, Seibert punted OU out of trouble on multiple occasions and helped the team control field position by consistently booting kickoffs out of the back of the end zone.
Hopefully, this signals the start of a turnaround from Seibert’s struggles this season.
*OU’s continued inability to put teams away is as concerning today as it was last week... and the game before that.
I honestly thought the Sooners would blow Texas away, given how the game started. Some switch keeps flipping when they race out to a big lead. Not in a good way.
*I’d point out that in all three instances, mindless personal foul penalties seemed to touch off the slides – two hits out of bounds and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo’s elbow drop against Iowa State.
*Speaking of Obo, man alive. He played his ass off. In addition to a sack, the official stats credited him with five quarterback hurries.
Frankly, the entire defensive front gave Texas’ offensive line the blues. Amani Bledsoe has provided the unit with a big boost since returning from suspension. Meanwhile, Du’Vonta Lampkin is evolving into a legitimate terror on the interior.
*Could the receiving corps possibly be more of a mixed bag? Half the time, it seems like they have couldn’t get open to save their lives. The other half, they look like one of the best collections of pass catchers in the country.
To be fair, I think they’re developing a better idea of what each receiver does best. For example, Marquise Brown is seeing more opportunities to catch balls on the run and turn them into big gains.