October 8, 2011

OU routs Texas in Red River Rivalry

DALLAS - This was impressive. This was dominant. This was Oklahoma at its buzz-saw best, hanging half-a-hundred on Texas.

Somewhere, Barry Switzer is smiling.

Bob Stoops certainly was after Saturday's 55-17 romp over Texas. Stoops' team used the iconic Cotton Bowl backdrop as a crimson canvas, painting touchdowns of all shapes and sizes every which way against a Longhorns team that, frankly, looked hapless.

"It was an excellent day," Stoops said. "It's a great win. To come down here and win like that, it's special."

It was raining touchdowns. There were touchdown throws, touchdown catches, touchdown runs, touchdowns on interception returns and touchdowns on fumble returns. Heck, at one point in the fourth quarter, an Oklahoma player just took the ball from a Texas player and sprinted into the end zone.

By the fourth quarter, Bevo was cowering in a corner of the Cotton Bowl.

It was embarrassing. You got the feeling Oklahoma spent more energy fighting boredom than Texas on this day.

"I was disappointed we didn't live up to our side of it," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "Credit to Oklahoma. We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves."

[Recap: Oklahoma 55, Texas 17]

Brown should feel sorry for himself. This was pathetic. The Longhorns ran 45 times for 36 yards and finished with 259 yards of offense. Texas also committed five turnovers and generally looked inept, anemic and incompetent.

How bad was it? At one point late in the third quarter, Texas faced a fourth-and-49.

Longhorns quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash were treated like ragdolls by the Sooners' defense. The duo combined to go 20-of-36 for 223 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Respectable numbers for their first time in a big game. But they also were sacked seven times.

"We have a long way to go on our offense," Brown said. "Just too many turnovers."

Truth be told, this game was over at halftime, with Oklahoma leading 34-10. That score was misleading. The Sooners held a 305-79 edge in yards at intermission, and if not for some misfires by Landry Jones and costly Sooners penalties, the score and stats could have been even more lopsided, chasing fans out to the midway of the Texas State Fair for some fried bubble gum.

Yes, it's true: Carnies were hawking fried bubble game at the fair, and if that didn't make Texas fans ill, this game did. Somehow, though, Brown stomached this.

"This will help us down the road," Brown said.

Really?

[More Oklahoma coverage: SoonerScoop.com]

This was supposed to be Texas' coming-out party, a chance for the Longhorns to validate that they were back from last season's 5-7 debacle.

Texas looked like it was finding its stride, opening the season unranked but forging a 4-0 start to climb to No. 11 in The Associated Press poll. But what, exactly, had Texas done to deserve its lofty ranking? Nothing, really. The Longhorns beat Rice, BYU, UCLA and Iowa State. Big deal.

The pre-game hype and spin was that Brown's staff shakeup - there are six new assistants, including two new coordinators - had paid dividends. In addition, the sense of entitlement that seemingly permeates the Texas program supposedly was gone. But the head-pounding hangover from 2010 obviously lingers.

"I don't think I'm shocked by anything. but I'm disappointed for the players," Brown said.

Now, the question becomes how many more losses Texas will suffer. The Longhorns play host to Oklahoma State next week, and games with Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas State, Texas A&M and Baylor also loom. Texas could end up losing three or four more games.

By slamming the door shut on Texas' coming-out party, the Sooners also sent a message: Don't forget about us when you're talking about the No. 1 team in the nation.

"It's way early in the year," Stoops said. "Other teams are rewarded for games they play. I'm sure we will be rewarded for this."

The Sooners made a heck of an argument in thoroughly dominating Texas. Oklahoma finished with 453 yards. Any play Sooners co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel dialed up seemingly worked against the Longhorns.

Jones stated his Heisman case, going 31-of-50 for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Wide receiver Ryan Broyles grabbed nine passes for 122 yards and a score.

But how good is Oklahoma? Think about it.

The Sooners beat an overrated Florida State team that played most of the game with a redshirt freshman quarterback. That same Seminoles squad lost to Wake Forest on Saturday. Oklahoma also topped a Missouri team that's breaking in a new quarterback and still is a work in progress.

And Texas? It's nowhere near ready for prime time and doesn't look like much of a measuring stick.

Bottom line: Oklahoma isn't on the same level as LSU and Alabama... and maybe even Wisconsin.

[More Texas coverage: Orangebloods.com]

Is Oklahoma even the best team in the Big 12? Oklahoma State may be the best Big 12 squad.

Oklahoma's biggest flaw is its inability to run consistently. Dominique Whaley and Brennan Clay are nice running backs. But could they penetrate the defenses of LSU or Alabama? Without a productive, physical rushing attack, it's going to be difficult to beat the Tigers or Crimson Tide.

One big advantage for OU over Alabama and LSU: The Sooners have a great quarterback in Jones.

"I give them props," Texas running back Malcolm Brown said. "They had a great team."

But maybe not great enough to win the national championship.

"We have confidence, we're building, it's our fifth game," Stoops said. "We still can get better."

Oklahoma is going to have to if it wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with Alabama and LSU.

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Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com, and you can click here to follow him on Twitter.



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