Road Warrior: Time for Texas

The Road Warrior breaks down OU's win over Texas Tech and looks ahead to Texas.

Cooper Castleberry. Remember that name, if you didn't know it already. Mr. Castleberry was the white-capped captain of the ship of fools the Big XII sailed into Norman to officiate the game against Tech yesterday. I mean, I knew Big XII refs were horrible, but this one really proved it in spades. Guys, when the ball skips on the ground before it goes under the guy diving for it, it's not a completed pass. Really.

Oh, yeah, and holding up the ball after you score a touchdown does not warrant an unsportsmanlike conduct flag. And when a guy catches the ball and gets his feet down in the end zone, the fact that a guy comes along and hits him and knocks the ball loose afterwards does not mean it's not a touchdown. And when a receiver gets interfered with, the fact that the ball was tipped after he was interfered with does not mean that you pick up the flag. And when the QB gets hit with his arm up and the ball goes flying, it's a fumble, not an incomplete pass. It was Castleberry himself on that one, and the most infuriating thing about it was that he stood there and watched everybody chase the ball, then after it went out of bounds, started waving it dead as an incomplete pass.

I will give the OU-Tech crew this, though. They didn't have the worst call on a completed/incomplete pass in the conference yesterday. That honor went to the KSU-A&M crew, which managed to decide that catching the ball and getting not one, but two feet inbounds afterward is not good enough for the pass to be complete. They did call pass interference on the defense on the play, which was some consolation, I suppose, but it was the worst call I have seen in a long time.

Anyway, I could go on and on about the multiple blatant holds on Tech that didn't get called, including one on a play that very nearly went for a long TD, but I won't. Enough is enough about the officials. Suffice it to say that I would hope that we don't draw that crew again, or at least that we only draw them for the Baylor game, where their incompetence is unlikely to matter much at all.

As for the game itself, minus the horrid officiating, I have to say that it was maddening. Certainly the most frustrating win I have seen in a while. Tech was dinking and dunking, and it seemed there for a while that they had converted every third down try they had all day. It was enough to drive you crazy. It seemed our offense barely had the ball all day. We had it only once in the third quarter, for the sake of Pete. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone.

But at the end of the day, for all the yards and the first downs the defense gave up, the fact of the matter was that Tech had only two field goals until late in the game when the outcome was already decided, and they only scored 13 points. If anyone can manage to beat this Sooner team with two field goals and a TD, they deserve to win. I don't see 13 points being enough to beat us this year, another KSU-type meltdown notwithstanding. Nobody ever won a game with any statistic except the scoreboard, which a number of Sooner fans would do well to remember.

It seemed like everybody but Tech just wanted to get the game over with so we could get on to Texas. However, when Adrian Peterson went down, suddenly the Texas game (or the Tech game, for that matter) seemed to be the last thing on anyone's mind. I have never heard Owen Field that quiet, and I have never heard a roar like the one that went up when AD not only got up, but also jogged off the field on his own. That young man is a special talent, and he's already showed it. This week he gets his chance to go back to his home state of Texas in the biggest game in the country and show people what he's made of. Somehow I think he'll represent himself just fine, and make the Texas fans lament his trip north of the Red that much more.

The funny thing about the Tech game is that the Texas fans were licking their chops after watching it, I'm sure. They think our defense isn't that great and that they can really put up some points in Dallas this year. "This is OUR year," they're saying. However, I seem to remember hearing that every year for the last four years. I mean, we didn't look very good defensively in 2000 against Kansas, in 2001 against KSU (where we gave up a ton of points and yards and only won by one point), or in 2002 against Missouri, where we had to uncork a fake field goal to win it. What do these three games have in common? They were all the game before the Texas game. And Tech is a stats machine, even if they don't win. In fact, I'd give even money that Tech will beat Texas in Lubbock this year.

To be sure, there have been some areas where our defense has had some shortcomings so far this season, but things always seem to gel for the game in Dallas. And, of course, there's the Mack Brown/Greg Davis factor. Geez, Mack had the start time for their game against Baylor yesterday moved up to 11:30 in the morning because our game starts at 11:00 next Saturday and he wanted to get the team used to playing in the morning.

This game is still a whopper of a mismatch on the sidelines, which is where the Sooners have won each of the last four games in this series even before they got on the bus for Dallas. Even if the Sooner defense gives up some points, I don't see Texas' suspect secondary stopping Jason White and the boys anytime soon. It might not be 65-13, but the Sooners will prevail again at the State Fair of Texas. Of that, I am supremely confident.

All week, I will have "Texas Fight" blaring through my head, just as the Sooners will have it blaring from speakers on the practice field. The first four games this season have been fun, but this is where the real football begins. It's all serious business from here on out, and getting that crystal bowl in Kansas City and that crystal football in Miami are the ultimate goals. But in order to get the crystal, you've got to get the Golden Hat first.

Corny dogs are my favorite breakfast food. See you in the shadow of Big Tex, and BEAT THE HELL OUTTA TEXAS!!!!

The Road Warrior is your typical OU fan in the stands, with one notable exception. He's been in the stands for every Sooner football game, home and away, for 158 consecutive games, dating back to October 12, 1991. His views appear in each issue of Sooners Illustrated.

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