Quarterback Landry Jones:B
The pick six on the first possession of the second half was horrible. Still, a lot should be said for the Artesia, N.M., native's ability to make some tough throws on the first OU drive that set the tone for this Red River beat down. Jones found his receivers with regularity as the Texas coverage broke down, passing for 321 yards. The senior signal-caller completed 21-of-37 passes with two touchdown tosses. More importantly, Jones got things rolling early for an OU offense that put up the most total offense against Texas in Red River Shootout history.
It deserves mention that this was co-offensive coordinator Josh Heupel's finest game as a play-caller. The Sooners' offense had the Texas defense off balance all morning and afternoon long. Whether it was halfback dives or off-tackles, drop offs into the flat or redshirt sophomore quarterback Blake Bell bruising his way for first downs and touchdowns, Oklahoma had it going on across the board offensively. By halftime the Sooners had effectively put the game out of reach, tallying 407 yards of total offense--206 rushing and 201 passing--in building a 36-2 edge at recess. Still, OU was not done yet. The Sooners finished with their Red River Shootout all-time best in total offense, compiling 677 total yards to beat out the previous-best of 552 yards in 2003. Game balls abound offensively.
In the Bob Stoops era, the team that out-rushes the opponent wins the Red River Shootout every time. Make it 14-for-14. OU battered, bruised and scooted its way to the tune of 343 rushing yards to Texas' 74. Junior JUCO transfer running back Damien Williams raced for 174 yards on 22 totes with one touchdown. The offensive line opened up big holes seemingly at will to spring Williams and the rest of the Sooners' stable of running backs for big gain after big gain.
Defensively, as noted above, the emphasis was on stopping Texas' run game. Mission accomplished. Oklahoma dominated from start to finish in the front seven, derailing the Longhorns' run game before it ever hit the tracks. Due to OU's dominance, Texas was only able to run the ball 23 times for 74 yards, or 3.2 yards per attempt. Also, OU continued its trend in the positive direction, forcing three turnovers--two interceptions and a David Ash fumble--to UT's one. OU also tallied eight tackles-for-loss. Finally, the Longhorns' time of possession was a measly 14:26 as compared to OU's 30:34 through three quarters of play when the majority of the Sooners' starters departed from the game.
The Stoops Brothers' Cotton Bowl Return:A+
If fans were not yet happy about the return of defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, it is time to hop on the schooner. Mike has taken many of the same players ex-defensive coordinator Brent Venables had a season ago and has molded them into perhaps the Big 12's best defensive unit. That said, remember back in 2003 when the Sooners unleashed the demolition squad in a 65-13 pummeling of the Longhorns? Well, the Stoops brothers' Cotton Bowl return ceremony went off without a hitch. This was the first game with Mike back on the sidelines for the Red River Shootout since that 2003 shellacking and the results Saturday mirror what happened a little over nine years ago.