As Bad As It Gets: Oklahoma 65, Texas 13

<B>Roy Williams</B>, you came back for <I>this? </I>Remember that 63-14 squeaker back in 2000? Those were the good old days, following Oklahoma&#146;s 65-13 mauling of Texas at the Cotton Bowl Saturday. It was the worst loss by either team in the 98-year history of this series. Not one of the worst but <I>the</I> worst. And head coach <B>Mack Brown </B>is taking it personally.

"Any time we lose a game I take I personally and I’m embarrassed today," Brown said. "Our team can’t play as bad today if I do my job so I must not have done my job this week."

Oh, did I predict Texas 23, OU 20? What I really meant was Oklahoma 65 - Texas 13.

As I mentioned Friday, any hope of a Texas win was utterly contingent upon Texas hanging on to the football (Texas had six turnovers), getting Roy at least 10 touches (he had 7 for 89 yards and, for the third time this season, was kept out of the end zone) plus a score from either its defense or special teams (there were none), and possibly getting the tight ends getting involved in the passing game (the first attempt to a TE came with Texas trailing 44-13 late in the third quarter).

"It’s always hard to lose a ballgame especially after you work so hard during the off season," Williams said. "It’s hard to lose one but it’s devastating to lose two."

An historic, fourth-straight loss to your archest of rivals is the kind of thing that gets coaches rolled. Here, Brown has done an otherwise good enough job for The University that he’s not going anywhere any time soon unless he decides he’s had enough of the pressure and criticism. But his seat is definitely several hundred degrees hotter today because saying, "Other than the Oklahoma game, he‘s had a fine career" is almost like saying, "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?".

"My job is to win every possible game and I don’t worry what other people think," Brown said. "But I am disappointed in the way I coached today. The pressure I put on is from me and I’m not happy with the way I coached today."

In this case, notice has to be served to defensive coordinator Carl Reese: in a century of Texas-OU football, no team has racked up 65 points until Saturday. Reese is the one Texas coach that you’d most enjoy sitting next to you on a cross-country road trip but he is the one assistant that has to be coaching for his job the rest of the season. I don’t know that his unit could have looked more ill-prepared than the one you saw Saturday.

Texas had "more positives in offense" than in recent years against the Sooners, Brown said, but "defensively didn’t have anything positive happen to us."

Saturday’s game is just the latest in a trend of defensive meltdowns of John Mackovician proportions. Texas’ run defense entered Saturday’s debacle ranked No. 100 in the country (and dead last in the Big 12) surrendering an average of 189 ypg and that’s exactly what they yielded in the Cotton Bowl (against 47 attempts). RB Renaldo Works was the first Sooner all year to surpass the century mark (112 yards on 15 carries) but the rushing total was not what was decisive in this one. Sooner QB Jason White was a nearly flawless 20-of-24 for 363 yards, 4 TD and no INT.

"The offensive line did a great job today and gave me all the time in the world, like they always do," White said.

White’s numbers came against a pass defense that was ranked No. 1 nationally.

"We had to get to White and we didn’t get to him," Brown said. "We got to him a couple of times in the second half but the game was over at that point. We didn’t do anything well on defense today. Again we can’t play that poorly if I do my job. It goes back to coaching."

Offensively, it begins (and ends) with those three interceptions and three turnovers.

"You can’t do the things that we did and have a chance to win the game," Brown said.

The past two years, the quick slant pass has killed Texas: OU picks it off when Texas throws it and Texas couldn’t stop it Saturday. On third and 10 from the Texas 23 on the opening series, Mock gave up his first career interception when CB Derrick Strait stole a slant pass intended for Williams and returned it 30 yards to the Longhorn six. Works then carried it over left end on counter play and OU led 7-0 just 34 seconds into the game. Mock played the first two series before yielding to Vince Young, and the junior signalcalller did not return until late in the fourth quarter where he fumbled on his own 23.

Strait was a one-man wrecking crew (two fumble recoveries, one interception, three pass breakups and game-high 11 tackles).

"I just felt more at home (at OU) during my recruiting visit," said Strait, an Austin native.

The momentum swung briefly in Texas’ favor when TE David Thomas shellacked PR Antonio Perkins at the end of a 17-yard return that Brett Robin recovered at the Sooner 44. That’s when Young entered the game and found Williams on a crossing pattern for a 30-yard gain to the Sooner 11. Following a 5-yard completion to FB Will Matthews and four tough yards on a QB draw, Benson rushed over right tackle to even the score at 7 with 10:31 remaining in the opening frame.

But on Texas’ next possession, FS Brodney Pool intercepted Young’s right sideline pass at the UT 35. Following an illegal substitution and an offensive pass interference, White was able to overcome 1st-and-30 from the Sooner 45 when he hit WR Jejuan Rankins on a crossing pass for 18 and then found WR Brandon Jones over the middle for 17. The big plays set up a 5-yard play action scoring pass to FB J. D. Runnels to make it 14-7 with 3:54 remaining in the first quarter.

Young broke six tackles and zig-zagged downfield for 59 yards from the Texas 20 after faking the handoff to Benson. But on first-and-goal from the 7, Strait recovered Young’s fumble at the OU 3. Young said he was "pretty upset with myself" following the turnovers but added. "I’m ready to move on next game. I’m upset that we didn’t play better as a team but we’re gonna bounce back next week."

But does anyone really believe that a Texas TD here would have made the difference Saturday? It only would have delayed the inevitable.

Staring at 97-yards of real estate and the Texas end of the field, White still orchestrated a 10-play, 73-yard drive that resulted in Trey DiCarlo’s 42-yard FG -- the big play coming on a 39-yard slant pass to WR Mark Clayton (190 yards on 8 grabs, including a career-high 135 yards at halftime).

Young’s 10-yard sack ended Texas’ next possession, setting up White’s 47-yard out pass to Clayton to the Texas 15. That resulted in a 10-play, 73-yard DiCarlo FG. While the score was just 17-7 at this point, you felt in your gut that if the defense couldn’t stop OU from the 3, it was only a matter of time before this one got ugly.

Brown said he never thought about re-inserting Mock because of Young’s ability "to make plays with his feet." After OU jumped to a 27-7 lead, Young found his split ends on a pair of sideline routes (17 yards to Williams and 19 yards to Sloan Thomas) to lead Texas on its second -- and final -- scoring drive of the afternoon. Young’s 27-yard TD run gave Texas a ray of hope, but PK Dusty Mangum missed a PAT for just the second time in his career (following a school record 121 conversions).

At this point, I’m going to break from my weekly ritual of summing up the game, because who the hell wants to relive the play-by-play? Suffice it to say, Texas fans began slowly heading for the exits following the 12-play, 80-yard OU drive to open the third quarter to make it 44-13.

Texas had more rushing yards in the first quarter (83) than it did against OU in the last three years combined. Young added 135 yard through the air (11-of-22) but it’s a moot point when the Sooners rack up 552 yards.

"I knew that they had a great offense and they showed it today," WLB Derrick Johnson said. "Every time we had a mistake they capitalized in it."

Blocking? It isn’t there -- against the good teams.

Tackling? Only SS Phillip Geiggar knows how to consistently do it.

Penalties? As Texas slowly lost its composure, the players racked up 11 flags totaling 112 yards.

Rushing? It all boils down to Young’s 127 yards on 15 carries. Three-yards and a cloud of dust would be a marked improvement for RB Cedric Benson (21 yards on 12 carries).

Coaching? Oklahoma has a championship one.

"I’m sure they feel like they would like to have played better," Stoops said. "There’s way too much negative press going back and forth between these two programs but Texas is very good, Mack Brown and his staff are very good. They can still win nine, ten or eleven games and that’s not easy to do. We had respect for Texas coming in and we still do."

Brown said all of those off-season tweaks and staff shakeups were intended to help Texas win two more games this season. Which two did he mean? The ones at Iowa State and Baylor? After that, I dread the Texas Tech game in Austin, plus that landmines at Oklahoma State. Will the Horns have enough heart to show up against Nebraska and Texas A&M?

"We’re going to start the season over," Brown said.

And how many times have you heard him say this: "We’re going to go back tomorrow and correct the mistakes we made today, understanding this is tough. It’s a tough position for us to be in because this game is really important to us and to our fans, and we didn’t play well."

Brown repeatedly deferred criticism from players and assistants by saying, "I must not be doing a great job" and "It all goes back to me." He apologized to Texas alumni and supporters everywhere, stating "I feel like I personally let them down and I let our players down, too."

But Williams came to his coach’s defense.

"It’s on us," Williams said. "It’s on the offense, defense and special teams. The coaches call the plays and we have to execute. Whether we like it (the play) or no, we have to go out and execute what’s called."

Roy, thanks for coming to Texas. Stay healthy. You’ve got a helluva career ahead of you. I just wish you could have had at least one championship ring, and one win over the Evil Empire, during your collegiate career.

Saturday's debacle, though, ensured that none of that would happen.

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