UT players walk off the field after losing to OU at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday October 8, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Third and Longhorns: Inside Texas-Oklahoma

Posted October 8th, 2016

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WHY TEXAS (2-3, 0-2) LOST: The defense, maligned all season on and off the field, looked better on the missed tackles and energy front, but still gave up a lot of points and yards for the third straight game — all losses. Oklahoma’s Big Three of Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Dede Westbrook all had huge days. They combined for 836 offensive yards. Shane Buechele threw for the second-most yards of his admittedly short career, but had two critical misses — one was an errant downfield bomb that John Burt would’ve been able to score on, the other was a sideline pick deep in OU territory that cost Texas a field goal or touchdown. Not having Chris Warren III available hurt; D’Onta Foreman had a big day, but the Longhorns needed a second running threat.

WHY OKLAHOMA (3-2, 2-0) WON: The Sooners and Longhorns match up well talent-wise, but Oklahoma is just deeper. And it showed. Mayfield beat Texas for the first time in three tries, Perine’s big game was able to offset Joe Mixon’s bad one (48 rushing yards, no touchdowns, a fumble and a muffed punt), and the Sooners wore Texas’ defense down in the second half. You’re able to overcome a four-turnover day when your opponent manages only a field goal off of them. And the Sooners were closers; OU went 4 of 4 on its red zone chances, including three touchdowns.

THE EYES OF TEXAS: … were on three specific Sooners— Mayfield, coming off an injured ankle against TCU last week who brought an 0-2 record vs. Texas as a Longhorn and Red Raider; Perine, who led OU in rushing touchdowns coming into Saturday; and linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who had accounted for four of the Sooners’ nine sacks coming into Saturday.

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How’d they do?

Mayfield was 22 of 31 for 390 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. And he added a rushing score.

Perine rushed for 214 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries.

Okoronkwo was up and down. He led the Sooners with 11 tackles, forced a fumble and tipped a third-down pass to force a punt. But he also was flagged for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

GAME BALLS

Offense: D’Onta Foreman. He had his best game of the year — a season-high 159 rushing yards, plus the third-longest touchdown run for Texas this season and tied for the fourth-longest run from scrimmage — and we were told he wasn’t completely healthy, either.

Defense: Dylan Haines. The Longhorns desperately needed to produce turnovers, and Haines had two interceptions. They were the first two picks of the season for Texas; opposing quarterbacks had attempted 91 passes this season without a pick.

THIS AND THAT:

Cheers …

(1) Devin Duvernay had the first touchdown catch of his career and led the Longhorns with 81 receiving yards. Baylor’s loss is Texas’ gain.

(2) Anthony Wheeler led all players with 13 tackles, the second time he’s reached double-digit tackles this season.

(3) Buechele continues to spread the wealth when it comes to receivers. Armanti Foreman had five catches, Duvernay and Collin Johnson had three, Lorenzo Joe and John Burt had two, and Dorian Leonard, Jake Oliver, Jacorey Warrick and Jerrod Heard had one each.

TEXCETERA: Saturday’s attendance was announced at 92,100. It looked like there were 46,500 Texas fans and 46,500 OU fans at the Cotton Bowl. … Charlie Strong’s Texas record dropped to 13-17 overall and 9-11 in the Big 12. … Texas is averaging 41 points a game this season, and the Longhorns’ 672 total yards were the fifth-most in school history.

ON DECK: IOWA STATE (Oct. 15, 6 p.m., Longhorn Network): Last year’s 24-0 shutout loss in Ames was, perhaps, the lowest point of the 2015 season, if it wasn’t the blowouts suffered at Notre Dame or at TCU. So that makes this particular Texas-Iowa State matchup that much more interesting. But even more interesting is the possibility of Texas stumbling to an 0-3 start in conference play.

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