DALLAS – In the beginning of the week, Oklahoma center Ty Darlington said the 2015 season for the Sooners was starting to take shape a lot like 2013.
That now includes the Red River Showdown. The Sooners, favored by more than double digits for the third year in a row, were upset by Texas for the second time in three years 24-17 on Saturday afternoon at the Cotton Bowl.
The 2013 game was marked by Texas spanking previously undefeated OU from beginning to end. Saturday, which marked the 110th meeting, had a bit of a different feel but the same result.
Texas, now 2-4 and 1-1 in the Big 12, was reeling coming off a 43-point loss to TCU the week before. The key, and most knew it, was for the undefeated Sooners to put their throat on the Longhorns nice and early.
That didn’t happen as Texas raced out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. All those visions of OU running 50, 60 points in a blowout were now things of the past.
It was game on.
“They covered us and they pressured us,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage, you know, and talked about trying to run it. Did I miss anything? They covered us. I think I said that.”
Stoops was left scrambling for answers to explain the dominance of the Longhorns on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
What stat hurt more? OU averaged less than two yards per carry, while Texas ran for 313 yards on 58 attempts. Texas played like a team motivated by the critics, motivated by the previous weeks of blunders, near calls and embarrassments.
OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, who had been so instrumental in getting OU back in the top 10 of both of the polls, tried to pull another rabbit out of the hat.
OU trailed 24-10 in the fourth quarter before Mayfield orchestrated a 15-play, 75-yard drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Samaje Perine and highlighted by Mayfield picking up nine yards on a fourth-and-eight.
“They would just bring a different guy here and there and their mixup this week was their cornerback,” Mayfield said. “Later we made an adjustment to it and at that point, it was a little bit too late.”
A little bit too late is a perfect way of describing the Sooners on this day. Just a little too late toward getting the job done and making the statement this group was so sure they were going to be able to against their rival.
Mayfield finished 20 of 28 passing for 211 yards and a touchdown pass to Dimitri Flowers, but Mayfield spent most of the day picking himself up off the turf as Texas had a game-high eight tackles for a loss of 50 yards.
It’s back to the drawing board for the Sooners, who didn’t have any answers and looked as shocked as their fan base did following the game.
OU was fine with following the script to the 2013 season. Big non-conference win on the road (Notre Dame in 2013, Tennessee this year). Big home win to start conference play (TCU in 2013, West Virginia).
It wasn’t supposed to be the same at the Cotton Bowl. That 2013 team responded to win the Sugar Bowl, but the Sooners have a lot of problems to address before there is any talk of that occurring this season.