Five Thoughts on Texas-Oklahoma

From Fozzy Whittaker to the Longhorn cornerbacks, here are five thoughts from Saturday's 55-17 loss to Oklahoma.

1) It's difficult for young cornerbacks to put together a full season without struggling, and the Longhorn trio of Carrington Byndom, Adrian Phillips and Quandre Diggs really took it on the chin Saturday. Landry Jones received the lion's share of the credit for the Sooners' offensive output, but looking back, he didn't have a number of difficult throws to make: in general, he had open receivers running around. And even when the corners were in the right place, they struggled to play the ball. After the game, Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles said that the Sooners saw on tape that the Longhorns liked to leave their cornerbacks on an island, and that's a matchup Oklahoma won the entire day. It doesn't get easier, with outside receivers like Justin Blackmon coming up. Byndom had the best day of the bunch, and might have emerged as the Longhorns No. 1 cornerback. But the unit as a whole has to get better.

2) You never like to see a senior lose the Oklahoma game like that, but it was particularly hard to watch the game get away when Fozzy Whittaker was playing the game of his life. The oft-maligned tailback has been especially strong since conceding the starting job to Malcolm Brown, and it appears he hasn't truly conceded it yet. While Brown struggled to assert his power on the game, Whittaker found enough openings to average better than seven yards per carry, while returning a kickoff 100 yards for a score.

3) The Texas offensive line was dominated almost from the start. In becoming one of the team's strengths to-date, the line did a great job of paving the way for the running game, protecting the quarterback and holding up for trick plays. They did neither of the three Saturday. The Sooners had 17 tackles for loss, including eight sacks, and were especially dominant off the edge. Defensive ends Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis combined for seven stops behind the line and five sacks between them. Brown couldn't find open space and the Longhorns averaged — with sack yardage included — 0.8 yards per carry. A big part of that came when Miles Onyegbule and Jaxon Shipley, both running trick plays, were tossed for losses of 13 and 14 yards, respectively. Look for some of the Longhorns' young, but talented, linemen to start getting longer looks.

4) Often, blowouts just seem like one long beating. But in Saturday's game, as with most games of that type, you could point to several plays as being turning points. Most came in the second quarter. On the quarter's first play, Byndom lost eye control and allowed Stills to get behind him for a 19-yard touchdown, turning a 6-3 game into a 13-3 one. Then, with the Sooners facing a third-and-25 at the Texas 35, Diggs fails to get a jam on Jaz Reynolds and Phillips arrived late over the top, allowing for a 30-yard gain and a first down. Instead of punting, Oklahoma scored another touchdown, making it 20-3. And the last might have been the toughest. After scoring to make it 27-10, Texas had a chance to force a quick punt and get the ball back. With a score before halftime, the Longhorns would have been down just two scores, and received the ball to start the second half. Instead, Oklahoma drives down quickly and scores a touchdown of its own. It's 34-10. And any hope that might have come from the second-half possession was squandered when Case McCoy had his fumble scooped up by David King and run in for a touchdown.

5) This year's team will get better. The coaching staff felt like they had a real chance to win this game, and if you take out the turnovers and poor execution, it's a lot closer. Still, those things are bound to happen with a young team still finding its sea legs. The team will be better for it. The bigger concern is how a mountain of recruits — many of whom are considering both Oklahoma and Texas — will take the results. At least one big recruit, Mario Edwards Jr., said that the game would have a bearing on his decision. And he followed that up after the game by saying that he could see himself playing on Oklahoma's defense. But several other recruits took it as a young team getting beaten by a more veteran one, and didn't seem to put as much stock in the results.

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