One for the thumb! Ahhh, how sweet it is! The Pittsburgh Steelers never could get theirs, but the Sooners' came yesterday in the Cotton Bowl in a game that was all the more delicious for the way it was won. We've blown them out, we've come from behind, and now we've skunked them. I told you last week that the Texas fans were licking their chops at the thought of their top-ranked rushing offense going up against what they naively perceived as a vulnerable Sooner defense. Without Mike Stoops, they thought, the Sooner D couldn't be as ferocious as it had been before.
Heh. All that they got for their talk was a giant, steaming mug of nothing. Nada. Not a point darkened the scoreboard under where it said "Horns." Just a big, beautiful zero from beginning to end. Even Mike Stoops' defense never shut out the Horns. Heck, the Sooners hadn't shut them out since 1972. Getting shut out has gotta be even harder than losing number five in a row.
All the talk from Texas was how they were tougher, and how they were actually tackling in practice now, and everything. To be sure, they looked
tougher than the last few years, but they still weren't tougher than the Sooners. They thought that silly little zone read play between Vince Young and Cedric Benson would eat us up. They thought ol' Ced would finally run through us like we'd stolen his plasma screen TV. And, to be sure, Ced did run for almost 100 yards and did exceed his collective yardage total in his
first three games against us. But then, of course, there was raw freshman Adrian Peterson, who outdid Benson's four-game total by about 50 yards in his first Red River Shootout. More about Peterson later.
The thing the Texans haven't been able to get into their heads is that one-dimensional doesn't work against our defense, and that's exactly what
Texas' offense is. I mean, for a wide receiver, Young is a hell of a quarterback. The key to Vince Young is the same as the key to Brad Smith,
and Seneca Wallace, and Reggie McNeal, and all the rest of the running quarterbacks. You have to contain them and make them beat you with their
arms. Young is incapable of beating a good defense throwing the ball. It's just that simple.
You watched the game. You saw his arm. Sure, he can throw it a long way, but it's like an eephus pitch – it brings rain. Anybody can lob floaters up there and let guys run under it, which is what Young did last season. This year, though, Young doesn't have the guys in the receiving corps to do that, and it's painfully obvious. Not that I'm complaining. UT offensive coordinator Greg Davis, who like Gary Busey can't be killed despite the
circumstances, will finally meet his end after this season, simply because there's nobody left to fire besides Mack Brown, and the puke orange cult can't seem to bring themselves to do that, thankfully.
Another delicious aspect to this win was the fact that the bounces and the calls, which the Horns have complained for four years haven't gone their
way, finally went their way and they still couldn't do anything with it. The Big XII seriously needs to think about giving their officiating crews a little (or a lot) remedial training on the rules of the game. Things like
what constitutes pass interference. Or maybe a little refresher on the forward pass, especially that part where if the ball touches the ground it's incomplete instead of intercepted. Stuff like that.
But even with a gift non-interception, a few no-calls, and some Sooner mistakes, the Horns didn't have the goods, just like always. They talk a good game, and they whip up on patsies, but they are no match for the Sooners.
And what of the freshman phenom in crimson? About his only flaw is that he's a bit careless with the ball, but if he drops 225 on the Horns every year,
even that won't be much of a problem. One writer described Peterson as looking like "a young Marcus Dupree with a better work ethic." I'm not sure
anyone could describe him any better. This kid is Special, and yes, that's a capital S for a reason. If he stays healthy, two things seem almost
certain. First, he will be in Norman for only three years. Second, he will add another bronze statue to the newly renovated Switzer Center's display cases.
Here's another piece of news. While Peterson's prospects look bright for one, although probably not this year, Jason White will not win another
Heisman Trophy. He may not even get invited to the ceremony except as a former winner. And the thing is that he couldn't care less, and neither
should you. I haven't lost any sleep over Josh Heupel's second-place finish in 2000, but I sure have over the Sooners not winning the Big XII or
national championships last season. You've gotta have your priorities straight, after all.
For my final word on Texas, I'd like to remind everyone that Switzer never beat Texas five in a row. The last Sooner coach to do it was Bud. Now we can add Bob to the list.
This week, it's on to Manhattan, Kansas, for a little payback. The Wildkitties are reeling after consecutive losses to Texas A&M and Kansas to
open the conference season. To be sure, they'll be tougher at home than on the road, but they are not the team they were in Kansas City last season.
Too bad, but that's not the Sooners' problem.
The bunch we'll go up against Saturday will still be wearing those god-awful purple uniforms, and they'll still play highlights from the Big XII title game last season, and they'll still flaunt the conference title they won at the Sooners' expense. So for revenge purposes, they will more than suffice.
See you in Manhattan.
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 159 consecutive games, dating back to October 12, 1991. His views appear in each issue of Sooners Illustrated.
Road Warrior: How sweet it is
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