Oklahoma Wins Rivalry Game Against Texas
DALLAS — Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops smiled and shook his head not long after the Sooners finished off a 31-26 win over Texas on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl.
“Yeah, it was weird,” Stoops said. “It’s always weird. You can throw a lot of stuff out when these two teams play. The history will show that.”
This year’s game added another chapter to the strange history of the storied rivalry.
In front of a sold-out crowd split evenly down the 50-yard line between Oklahoma crimson and Texas burnt orange, Texas controlled much of the game but Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) led nearly the whole way.
“Overall, very pleased with the way we played,” first-year Texas coach Charlie Strong said. “We just can’t keep giving away opportunities, especially when you play a great football team. You’ve got to take advantage of everything.”
Early, things seemed to be coming together for the Longhorns to pull off a second consecutive upset over the Sooners.
Texas’ defense played well yet again after a strong showing against Baylor the week before.
The Longhorns kept Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight off kilter through
much of the first three quarters while Texas’ own young quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes, generally kept his composure against the Sooners’ rush.
Then Texas had a final chance late, getting the ball back in the final minute with a chance for a desperation drive before an incomplete pass and a holding penalty sent the game the Sooners’ way.
“Overall, it was a good team win,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “We scored on special teams. We get a defensive touchdown. On offense, we get some touchdowns in the second half when we needed it.
“Those kind of things were all positive. Everybody had a hand in it. Again, there are some parts of it that we have to improve on, but any time we can come down here and win, it’s a positive for us and we’ll just keep trying to build on it.”
Oklahoma’s offense was dormant until well into the second half. The Sooners had fewer than 80 yards with under six minutes left in the third quarter.
“I think there is some frustration involved when you’re not running up and down the field like we’re capable of doing,” Knight said. “I think we did a good job of that responding on the sideline, keeping the guys fired up.”
Knight finally started finding receivers and a rhythm when Oklahoma turned up the pace late in the third.
Knight hit Durron Neal for a 22-yard gain in a stretch of three completions. After a run, he hit Sterling Shepard for a 24-yard touchdown that gave the Sooners their first offensive touchdown and a 24-13 lead.
On their first drive of the fourth quarter, the Sooners took advantage of good field position to quickly move down the field with some help from the ground game for the first time.
Freshman running back Samaje Perine, who had seven touchdowns over Oklahoma’s previous two games, capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown to put the Sooners up 31-13.
Texas stayed in the game, however, as Swoopes moved the ball down the field twice in the fourth quarter after the Sooners forced the Longhorns (2-4, 1-2) to punt on their first five drives of the half.
But the Longhorns couldn’t put together one more big drive and the Sooners celebrated with the Golden Hat trophy at midfield.
“It’s heartbreaking for us,” Texas wide receiver Jaxon Shipley said. “Coming off a win last year, it was probably my most favorite moment. I’m proud of the team and proud of the way we competed though.”
Swoopes completed 27 of 44 passes for 329 yards, surpassing 300 for the first time in his career, with two touchdowns and an interception.
Despite their offensive problems early, the Sooners managed to build a 17-13 lead by half without an offensive touchdown.
After Texas settled for a field goal on the opening drive, Alex Ross returned the ensuing kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown — his second kick return score of the season.
The Sooners did take advantage of one Swoopes mistake, as cornerback Zack Sanchez returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown in the first half.
After struggling in his last two starts, Swoopes stayed composed outside of that play, especially early when he regularly found Shipley downfield.
Shipley had seven catches for 84 yards in the first half and finished with nine catches for 115 yards.