It’s halftime at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Fifth-ranked Oklahoma, needing a win to — in all likelihood — earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, is leading No. 14 Texas, 20-14.
As expected, this is looking like it’s going to be a close one. Shootout? Maybe, but if so, it’ll have to emerge in the second half. Texas’ defense, save for a couple of ill-advised penalties, is keeping the Longhorns in this game by containing Kyler Murray’s ability to improvise and slowing down the Sooners’ running game. Sam Ehlinger is playing steadier than he did in Lawrence last week, and Collin Johnson is having an impressive afternoon.
Texas has led all game — until the final minute of the half, when Murray engineered a quick-strike scoring drive for the halftime lead.
Back on Oct. 6, it was a 24-17 Longhorns lead at the half. Texas exploded for three third-quarter touchdowns and took a 45-24 cushion into the fourth. We obviously remember Oklahoma’s three-touchdown rally to tie it up, setting the stage for Cameron Dicker’s game winner.
First quarter (Texas 7, Oklahoma 3)
Texas: Sam Ehlinger 16-yard run (Cameron Dicker kick, 11:38)
Oklahoma: Austin Seibert 20-yard field goal, 7:37
Second quarter (Halftime — Oklahoma 20, Texas 14)
Oklahoma: Seibert 27-yard field goal, 14:50
Texas: Ehlinger 3-yard run (Dicker kick, 11:22)
Oklahoma: CeeDee Lamb 28-yard pass from Kyler Murray (Seibert kick, 5:01)
Oklahoma: Grant Calcaterra 6-yard pass from Murray (Seibert kick, :18)
What’s happened so far
- Ehlinger has missed two touchdown passes, both on the first drive to a wide-open Johnson and a wide-open Lil’Jordan Humphrey, both streaking right down the middle. Credit both to him being too amped up to start the game.
- The Sooners have had issues of their own. Marquise Brown dropped what would’ve been a 59-yard touchdown catch over Caden Sterns on OU’s second drive. And he let another touchdown get away when Boyd knocked it out of his hands.
- Texas has had five drives so far. They’ve gone for TD, punt, TD, punt, punt
- Oklahoma has had five drives as well — FG, FG, punt, TD, TD
- The first big play of the game — a deflected pass that turned into a Caden Sterns interception in the endzone — turned out to be big for Oklahoma. A facemask penalty on the Longhorns wiped it out, allowing the Sooners to retain possession. They ended up with a field goal, thanks to a nice tackle for loss on third down by Gary Johnson, who stuffed Trey Sermon at the goal line.
- Texas tried a trick play on its second drive, a halfback pass from Tre Watson that was nowhere near a completion downfield.
- Attention, Tom Orlando: During the break, don’t forget to mention to Kris Boyd — your all-conference cornerback — to stay away from the facemasks. He’s having a Stillwater kind of week, committing two 15-yard facemask penalties (one of which negated a Texas interception) and was flagged for pass interference. And maybe Breckyn Hager needs a reminder, too; his 15-yard facemask penalty on OU’s final drive helped set up the Sooners’ late score.
Boyd did, however, turn in a good play on the first snap of the second quarter. He broke up a touchdown pass to Marquise Brown on a third-down fade route; Brown actually made the grab, but Boyd then knocked it out of his hands.
- Texas’ defensive plays of the game, so far: Gary Johnson forced a field goal with a goal-line tackle. Boyd’s pass breakup in the endzone. And Davante Davis forced a punt with a hard hit on third down, stopping Brown one yard short of the first down marker.
- Heisman Trophy ballots are due on Monday. Kyler Murray, in his final chance to impress voters, is 12 of 17 for 203 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. But he’s rushed for only 9 yards. Back in October, he accounted for 396 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.
- Texas’ opening drive went 75 yards on nine plays, an efficient blend of passes to Johnson and Watson runs. Texas’ first third-down opportunity was a big one. Ehlinger found Johnson for 32 yards, a very nice catch on a 50/50 ball. And Ehlinger capped it with a 16-yard run on third-and-1, his 12th rushing touchdown of the season and Texas’ second-longest rushing score this year.
Johnson added a 31-yard gain in the second quarter. And added an important 23-yarder on fourth-and-4 — Tom Herman’s first gamble of the day — down to OU’s 15. He’s got four catches for 96 yards.
- Kennedy Brooks has been OU’s hot hand in the running game — 362 yards and 3 TDs in the last two games against Kansas and West Virginia — but it was Trey Sermon who got the start today. He had only five carries last week at West Virginia; today he’s got 7 carries for 29 yards. The Sooners are struggling to run, averaging 3.1 yards per carry so far.
Oklahoma, which won the toss but deferred, will get the ball to start the second half.
News on Bevo Beat is free and unlimited. Access to the rest of Hookem.com is included with an Austin American-Statesman subscription in addition to Statesman.com and the ePaper edition. Subscribe today at statesman.com/subscribe.