This Time, Texas Brought The Attitude

Long before Texas throttled Oklahoma Saturday between the hashes, the team had already managed to beat their arch-rivals between the ears.

In other words, it was the No. 2 Longhorns who brought the attitude, confidence and the swagger into the Centennial Game of the heated series, despite having dropped five straight to the Sooners.

"Our players thought they were going beat Oklahoma," head coach Mack Brown said Monday. "They enjoyed the win, but they weren’t surprised by it."

Nobody who has followed college football this season should have been surprised either, given the inexperience, injuries and defections on a Sooner club that has now dropped to 2-3 for the first time since head coach Bob Stoops’ first season in 1999. Even so, most pigskin pundits nationwide predicted a much closer outcome than the 33-point margin, equaling the mark for Texas’ most lopsided series win first set in 1941 (40-7). The 45-12 thumping also represented the most points Texas has ever posted against Oklahoma.

Oklahoma players began quarrelling and pointing fingers at themselves as the rout unfolded, OT Jonathan Scott reported following the game. On Monday, DE Brian Robison noted that Sooner offensive players seemed bewildered by Gene Chizik’s defensive scheme.

"I didn’t really see any (OU offensive players) fighting amongst themselves," Robison said, "but I do think they were more and more confused as the game wore on."

TE David Thomas was shut out during the 12-0 loss in 2004 but tallied five receptions for 50 yards Saturday.

"I don’t know if they played as aggressively as they did last year," Thomas said.

Part of that had to do with Vince Young successfully countering the type of cornerback and safety blitzes that forced two QB fumbles and three losses on third down conversions in 2004. It translated into freeing Thomas from the LOS in maximum protection packages and becoming a viable secondary receiver.

Defensively, part of the strategy was for the secondary to nickel-and-dime RS-freshman QB Rhett Bomar to death. Add to the mix some timely blitzes, especially from the cornerbacks, and you’ve got an Oklahoma QB who’ll live to see a better day. Bomar threw for 94 yards on 12-of-33 passing (36.4 percent), including one INT and one TD.

"The game is tough on young ones," head coach Mack Brown said. "The defense knocked him down a bunch. We’ve used more nickel and dime (packages) than we’ve used and just blitzed the heck out of him."

Bomar praised the Longhorn D for its speed and physical play but said his team’s offensive woes had more to do with poor execution. Texas held Oklahoma to 171 yards on 66 plays (2.6 ypp), representing Texas’ top defensive effort against OU in 26 years. Meanwhile, the Sooners rushing attack, which was averaging 178.3 ypg entering the contest, was held to just 77 yards. Obviously, Oklahoma’s ground game was significantly hobbled when RB Adrian Peterson (high ankle sprain) could only contribute three carries for ten yards. At the same time, Texas RB Jamaal Charles only got six more touches than Peterson after leaving the game mid-way through the third quarter with a reported twisted ankle. Charles finished with a game-best 116 yards on nine carriers.


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