Posted October 10th, 2015
Yes, that just happened.
Beleaguered Texas, burdened by its 1-4 record, facing an 0-3 hole in Big 12 play and coming off a week where cell phones, Twitter and job security dominated what’s usually a rivalry-filled week of Red River storylines, produced the biggest win of the Charlie Strong era in the 24-17 upset over 10th-ranked Oklahoma.
The Longhorns won all three phases of the game — offense (outgaining the Sooners for the third year in a row), defense (limiting OU’s big plays and stuffing the run game) and special teams (a kick return fumble) — and got big performances from quarterbacks Jerrod Heard and Tyrone Swoopes, running back D’Onta Foreman, receiver Marcus Johnson and the defense.
The win improves Texas to 2-4 overall, 1-2 in the Big 12. Oklahoma drops to 4-1, 1-1.
This was the 10th game Strong has coached at Texas against a ranked opponent. The Longhorns are 2-8 in those games. The last win was at home over No. 23 West Virginia last year, the night Strong went body surfing in the Texas locker room.
“All in all, they kicked us and won the football game,” OU coach Bob Stoops said.
Who handled kicking duties? Still Nick Rose. He was 1 of 1 on field goal attempts, perfect on extra points.
Who handled punts? Still Michael Dickson. His first effort was 32 yards, but he also had a 53-yarder and ended up averaging 41.7 yards a kick. And there were no snap issues.
Who handled returns? Not Daje Johnson, who didn’t play. Kris Boyd handled kick return duties, Duke Thomas punts. Neither made a play, but neither made a mistake, either.
The first quarter was all Texas. Baker Mayfield completed only one pass, the Longhorns held a 133-15 advantage in total yards and produced two touchdowns, a nifty 24-yard “pass” from Jerrod Heard to Marcus Johnson, who broke four tackles for an impressive score. And Tyrone Swoopes made it 14-0 on a short 3-yard run. The Sooners converted only one of their four third downs, fumbled a kickoff to set up Texas’ second score and looked a step slow trying to corral Heard on the run (nine carries for 61 yards, an average of 6.8 yards a pop.)
The second quarter settled down for both teams. The Longhorns didn’t manage a score, while Oklahoma produced only a field goal. Injuries to defensive tackles Hassan Ridgeway and Poona Ford, however, affected Texas’ ability to stop runs up the middle in the quarter. Still, on that field goal drive, Texas’ defense made a nice stand inside the 5, including two pass breakups in the end zone.
The Longhorns, leading 14-3 at halftime, produced a long drive and a field goal to open the third quarter. Oklahoma answered with a touchdown. But it was Foreman’s big 81-yard run to close the quarter that ended up being the key play. It was the 11th longest run in Texas history.
Texas’ defense came up with a couple of big stops in the fourth quarter, including a key stop with 5 minutes left.
Injury updates: Receiver/return Daje Johnson was dressed and warmed up, but did not play due to last week’s concussion. Right tackle Kent Perkins missed his second straight game; he was wearing shorts today. Last week, he didn’t even make the trip to Fort Worth. And, of course, there was no Bevo. Texas’ mascot, battling some sort of life-threatening condition, didn’t make the trip. Defensive tackles Hassan Ridgeway (shoulder, we think) and Poona Ford (ditto) both left the game in the second quarter, but Ridgeway returned in the second half. So did Ford, in the fourth quarter.
Quickie stats: Heard was 8 of 11 for 53 yards and a touchdown, Swoopes was 1 of 1 for a 1-yard touchdown. But Texas got things done on the ground, not through the air. Foreman produced his second straight 100-yard day (9-117-0) and Heard also rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries. For OU, Baker Mayfield was 20 of 28 for 211 yards and one touchdown, while running backs Samaje Perine (10-36-1) and Joe Mixon (6-24) were neutralized.
The last five Texas-OU results (all at the Cotton Bowl):
2015: Texas, 24-17
2014: Oklahoma, 31-26
2013: Texas, 36-20
2012: Oklahoma, 63-21
2011: Oklahoma, 55-17