The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

October 14, 2012

Stoops: OU can't rest

DALLAS —  After Oklahoma was upset by Kansas State 24-19, a few “experts’’ were joking the Sooners could end up in the Pinstripe Bowl (bowl for one of lower-tier Big 12 teams).

There were no such jokes after the Sooners completely dominated Texas 63-21 Saturday. The win put OU back in the Associated Press poll.

The game might not have been as close as the final score indicated. Texas had 174 of its 289 total yards in the fourth quarter after OU taken its starters out.

The 677 yards OU had offensively was the most the Sooners ever had against Texas.

“We’ll see,’’ said OU coach Bob Stoops when asked where he thought his team was. “Right now we’re 4-1 and have beaten Texas and Texas Tech in league and that’s it.

“We got a long road to travel. This game, in my 14 years here, has never been the end all to our season. We still got a long road in front of us. We have to keep getting better, and I think we will.’’

OU teams, in the past, have been judged on the Texas game. A win over the Longhorns usually met the Sooners were still in contention for the national championship and since 1996, the Big 12 title.

Stoops is 9-5 against Texas. In six of the nine seasons, OU went on to win the Big 12. Three times, they went on to the BCS National Championship game.

However, in two of those seasons (2001 and 2012), the Sooners failed to go on to win the Big 12. A year ago, an unbeaten OU team appeared to be in position to go to the national championship game with a 55-17 romp.

The Sooners were only 5-3 after Texas with losses to Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State.

Of course, the 63-14 romp of Texas in 2000 ignited a magical season which ended with the Cinderella Sooners winning the national championship. A 65-13 win in 2003 would lead to OU finishing the regular season undefeated.

“This one would certainly rank with the 63-14 and 65-13,’’ Stoops said. “It was pretty special.’’

Stoops’ winning percentage against Texas (.643) is almost identical to Barry Switzer (.647) and is better than Bud Wilkinson’s .529 (9-8, losing his last six games).

Three weeks ago, the Sooners were looking ahead at a schedule which saw five future opponents ranked ahead of them. Now, there’s only one — No. 5 Notre Dame, who OU plays on Oct. 27.

“We have made a lot of improvement,’’ Stoops said. We’re building on it, and I think it will continue. The guys are doing a good job across the board.’’

No more questions about the Sooners’ toughness after Texas managed only two first downs in the first half. OU had run 52 plays in the first half, compared to 23 for UT. The Longhorns had all of two yards rushing.

OU had the ultimate balance with 343 yards rushing and 334 passing. OU’s defense had shut out the Texas offense until the two late scores off the backups.

“It’s totally unacceptable for Texas to lose to Oklahoma like that the last two years,’’ said UT coach Mack Brown. “It’s a disappointment for our players, fans and coaches. It’s not who we are.’’

It might be, though. Texas allowed 576 yards to OSU and 460 yards to West Virginia the past two weeks. OSU averaged 6.9 yards a carry on the ground. OU averaged 6.7

“If you can’t stop the run, things get ugly real quick,’’ said Texas defensive tackle Alex Olafor.

“We did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage,’’ said OU defensive end David King. “You win the game up front. If you don’t control the line of scrimmage, you don’t win.’’

Brown when asked if his team had quit said facetioulsy “the offense wasn’t out there long enough to quit.’’

Brown acknowledged the Sooners “may be as good as anybody in the league’’ and the dominance was “a credit to them.’’

Texas is 7-13 in the Big 12 since reaching the national championship game in 2009. The Longhorns were 3-4.

While OU is back in the race, Texas may be looking at survival, beginning with Baylor Saturday.

“We’re going to try to move forward,’’ Brown said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to finish up better than we did last year.’’

Brown’s future at UT could depend on it. Lopsided back-to-back losses to OU aren’t good for job security.Brown received more bad news Sunday Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, and quarterback David Ash’s status is uncertain after X-rays showed his left wrist wasn’t broken.

Both injuries came in the Longhorns’ 63-21 loss to No. 10 Oklahoma on Saturday in Dallas.

Ash injured the wrist on his non-throwing hand when he was hit while throwing an incompletion in the fourth quarter.  Defensive tackle Brandon Moore, who was taken off the field on a stretcher, was diagnosed with a neck sprain and hasn’t been ruled out of Saturday’s game against Baylor.



Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.

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