In a game that has typically been unkind to new starting quarterbacks versus returning starters — the returners are now 9-2-1 since 1990 — the trend held true, with Sooner signal caller Landry Jones delivering a masterful performance.
Jones hit on 31-of-50 passes and routinely shredded Longhorn blitzes for 367 yards peassing, spread around to nine different receivers. Meanwhile, the Texas quarterback duo of Case McCoy and David Ash combined for four turnovers — two picks for Ash and two fumbles for McCoy — and were sacked seven times. Jaxon Shipley, taking a snap at quarterback, was sacked an eighth.
"Usually in this game, the experience at quarterback has been an issue," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "I thought (Jones) played like an older player today."
But this game was decided by more than just the quarterbacks. The Sooners put together a complete effort, snuffing out trick plays and largely eliminating the Texas running game, while moving the ball almost at will offensively.
In an incident that might have described the way the game went, Texas cornerback Carrington Byndom broke up a pass intended for Sooner receiver Kenny Stills. Byndom offered to help Stills back up, and Stills, all business, knocked his hand away. Oklahoma led just 13-3 at that point in the second quarter, but the result was about to get much worse. On the very next play, Jones hit Ryan Broyles for a five-yard score and a 20-3 lead.
"They played hard, and we expected that from them," Byndom said. "I think we needed to match that a little bit better."
A few minutes later, with Ash trying to scramble and make a play, he instead found Oklahoma cornerback Demontre Hurst, who returned the interception 55 yards.
To Texas' credit, the Longhorns responded immediately with a 100-yard touchdown by Fozzy Whittaker on the kickoff return. But while that score should have given the Longhorns some momentum before half, it only served to show just how resilient the Sooners were. Oklahoma marched 83 yards in just over two minutes, scoring a touchdown with 31 seconds before halftime when Jones hit Stills from 14 yards out.
Just like that, the halftime margin was back up, the Texas momentum was quelled and the Sooners were back in a great spot. They continued their run of big plays in the second half, scoring on a 19-yard fumble return by defensive end David King, a 64-yard run by Dominique Whaley and a 56-yard fumble return by Jamell Fleming, who ripped the ball out of the hands of receiver Mike Davis and raced the other way for a touchdown.
"(You) can't have five turnovers and win games," Brown said. "We had said we needed to win the turnover ratio coming in, we had to win the penalties coming in, we had to win the red zone coming in, and we had to win third downs, and I'm not sure we won any of them. And those were the four chances for us to win the game."
Thankfully, that was the last of the carnage, with Texas getting its first offensive touchdown with 2:31 left in the game when Ash hit Shipley for a four-yard score.
"I think they hung in there," said Bryan Harsin, Texas offensive coordinator.
Oklahoma gained 453 yards to just 259 for the Longhorns. And the Sooners kept the trend going of the team that rushes for the most yards winning the game, though it was a bit of an empty stat. Oklahoma actually had fewer rushing yards than Texas until Whaley's 64-yard run, which came with the Sooners already up big. Whaley finished with 83 yards on 13 carries. Broyles led all receivers with nine catches for 122 yards and a score. Jaz Reynolds added six catches for 92 yards and Stills had five for 51 and two touchdowns.
"We watched the film," Broyles said. "We felt like we had a pretty good game plan coming in. They like to isolate their corners out there, and we felt like we had athletes to compete with them."
The two Longhorn quarterbacks completed 20-of-36 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. Malcolm Brown was held to 3.2 yards per carry, but Whittaker and D.J. Monroe combined for nine carries for 66 yards. Jaxon Shipley had nine catches for 89 yards and the Longhorns' lone offensive touchdown.
"No surprises," Malcolm Brown said. "They just executed."
"We don't have enough time to feel sorry for ourselves," Coach Brown said. "Oklahoma State throws it like this bunch."
OKLAHOMA — Mike Hunnicutt 26 FG, 12:14 1Q
OKLAHOMA — Hunnicutt 24 FG, 7:10 1Q
TEXAS — Justin Tucker 46 FG, 2:41 1Q
OKLAHOMA — Kenny Stills 19 pass from Landry Jones (Hunnicutt kick), 14:56 2Q
OKLAHOMA — Ryan Broyles 5 pass from Jones (Hunnicutt kick), 11:43 2Q
OKLAHOMA — Demontre Hurst 55 interception return (Hunnicutt kick), 2:57 2Q
TEXAS — Fozzy Whittaker 100 kickoff return (Tucker kick), 2:44 2Q
OKLAHOMA — Stills 14 pass from Jones (Hunnicutt kick), 0:31 2Q
OKLAHOMA — David King 19 fumble return (Hunnicutt kick), 13:35 4Q
OKLAHOMA — Dominique Whaley 64 yards (Hunnicutt kick), 8:02 3Q
OKLAHOMA — Jamell Fleming 56 fumble return (Hunnicutt kick), 11:22 4Q
TEXAS — Jaxon Shipley 4 pass from David Ash (Hunnicutt kick), 2:31 4Q