The one-sided Red River rivalry of the Mack Brown-Bob Stoops era grew even more so Saturday. The Sooners ran roughshod over Texas in every way imaginable in the Cotton Bowl, coming away with a 63-21 win.
Stoops’ teams have won Red River Shootouts by wider margins before, but never have they tuned up their neighbors to the south the way that they did in this game. Offense, defense – everything worked for OU. In the aftermath, any number of statistics point to the Sooners’ dominance, but a 400-yard difference in total yardage (677-289) tells the whole story.
OU accomplished all that in spite of a relatively pedestrian performance from senior quarterback Landry Jones, who notched a school record 33rd win as a starter and ran his record versus Texas to 3-0. He was frequently off-target on his throws and tossed a poor pick-six that led to one of Texas’ three touchdowns. Jones’ numbers (21-37 attempts, 321 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT) looked pretty sweet in the end, though, which is a testament to just how badly the Texas D played.
Given how well OU ran the ball, Jones and his receivers didn’t really have to do too much. The Sooners pounded out 343 yards on the ground, led by 167 yards (7.6 yards per carry) from tailback Damien Williams. Williams’ day included a 95-yard touchdown run in the first half that gave a pretty good indication as to where this game was headed.
Defensively, the Sooners rendered Texas’ “SEC-style” offensive attack Big Ten-level effective. Texas started the game with something like 42 consecutive three-and-out drives. The Longhorns never really threatened to put points on the board until Stoops had pulled his starters.
Not only did OU beat UT in every phase of the game, the Sooners physically battered the Longhorns. Texas players began dropping early in the contest and didn’t stop until the game was over.
The beatdown culminated in an apparent wrist injury that may have ended sophomore quarterback David Ash’s season. For Ash, it represented an unfortunate end to a rough day in watch he fought hard, but got little support from anyone around him.
Ash and Texas’ explosive offensive entered the game as one of the big surprises of the season, ranking second nationally in passing efficiency. The second-year QB’s struggles (13-29 attempts, 113 yards, 2 INTs) versus the Sooners symbolize the state of the Oklahoma-Texas blood feud.
Since Texas’ disastrous 2010 season, the Longhorns’ narrative has centered around Brown’s rebuilding project. He hired consultants to tell him what he was doing wrong, whacked longtime assistants and added flashy rainmakers to his coaching staff from around the country. In the meantime, UT started its own television network, backed by ESPN, and continued signing All-World recruits. After last year’s 8-5 campaign, the talk coming out of Austin was that Texas was on its way back up the college football hierarchy.
Supposedly, momentum was headed the opposite way at OU. A disappointing finish to 2011, a season in which OU started the year ranked No. 1, roster attrition and rumors of dissension within the program sparked some talk that Stoops had lost his edge. A frustrating loss to Kansas State earlier this year did little to quell the grumbling.
Yet again, though, the Sooners have hit their stride and exposed Bevo’s pride and joy as all hat, no cattle. Brown has made a coaching career trading on promise. Stoops has made his name by delivering on it – in the form of wins over the ‘Horns and titles from a league that is supposedly in Burnt Orange’s back pocket.
In the middle of the first half, a sobering thought occurred to me.
Tap the brakes, Stoops. Don’t need Mack going anywhere, now.
— Allen Kenney (@BlatantHomerism) October 13, 2012
I wasn’t kidding.