After that 99-yard drive by TCU, Texas defense looking for 'a four-quarter football game'
For the third time in a four-year span, Oklahoma will enter its Red River reunion game with Texas undefeated.
The Sooners, however, have survived some close calls. Four of their five wins have been by seven points or less. Two of the teams the Sooners squeezed by — Tulane and West Virginia — currently have losing records. Nebraska is just 3-3.
Is No. 5 Oklahoma vulnerable? Texas linebacker Luke Brockermeyer wasn't buying it during Tuesday's media availability when he was asked about the Sooners' so-called struggles.
"They still look really good to me, I don't know what y'all been watching," Brockermeyer said.
Oklahoma is averaging 433.4 yards and 38.4 points per game. In other words, the Texas defense should have its hands full at the Cotton Bowl.
Texas is coming off a performance at TCU in which it allowed 27 points and 351 yards of offense. The Longhorns yielded 99 of those yards on TCU's last possession of the game.
With 9:32 left, TCU stuffed UT running back Bijan Robinson on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line. The Horned Frogs then marched 99 yards over a 13-play drive that was capped by Kendre Miller's short touchdown run. On the possession, TCU ran eight times for 36 yards. Quarterback Max Duggan completed all five of his passes.
Miller's touchdown pulled TCU within five points with 4:23 remaining. But Texas successfully ran out the clock and secured its first win in Fort Worth since 2013.
"We made some mistakes, at the same time, that again are all correctable," Brockermeyer said. "That's kind of on us more than anything. TCU, they were a great opponent, they had a lot of good players. They gave us some fits."
Texas hadn't allowed a 90-yard drive since its season opener against Maryland in 2018. The Horned Frogs' 99-yard journey spoiled what had been a solid performance by the UT defense.
"I thought our guys played really, really well up until the last seven, eight minutes in that game," Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. "I'll be honest with you, I contemplated even taking a time out trying to regroup them a little bit almost like basketball because I could feel it."
TCU's fourth-quarter march down the field came one week after Texas allowed 69- and 75-yard touchdown passes in the second half of a 70-35 trampling of Texas Tech. On Monday, Sarkisian said "I think we're getting closer to putting together a four-quarter football game with the right mental intensity, the right focus that is going to be needed Saturday. We're playing a team, they're not going to stop attacking us."
Said Texas defensive lineman Moro Ojomo: "You have to be mentally tough for four quarters straight."
Thanks to a shutout of Rice on Sept. 18 — UT's first since the 2017 season and Sarkisian's third as a head coach — Texas is allowing 24 points per game. Six Big 12 teams are surrendering fewer points. However, that 24.0 points-per-game average would also be the program's fourth-best mark since 2010 if the season ended today.
Behind that defense and an offense scoring 43.8 points per game, Texas has won four of its five games.
"(UT strength and conditioning coach Torre Becton) mentioned how teams are starting to settle into what they are," Ojomo said. "I think we have tried to implement a standard. We're hopefully upholding that standard."
23-Texas vs. 5-Oklahoma, 11 a.m., ABC, 104.9