Sooners Stumble in Dallas, 28-10

October 9, 2006

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Colt McCoy probably doesn’t realize how quickly things have changed in the Texas-Oklahoma rivalry.
Not long ago, the No. 7 Longhorns were the ones getting outhustled, outcoached and flat-out beat.
Now, it’s the No. 14 Sooners who are finding ways to lose — like having their best player give up on a loose ball near his end zone with the game still on the line in the fourth quarter.
Adrian Peterson thought the ball bouncing off his hands meant an incomplete pass, not a fumbled lateral. Texas cornerback Aaron Ross wasn’t sure, but scooped it up and scored just in case, and wound up with the touchdown that sealed a 28-10 victory Saturday in the 101st edition of the Red River rivalry.
“I’m just sitting there like, ‘What the, you know, is going on?”‘ Peterson said after the game, still puzzled by what happened.
Such confusion was typical for the Longhorns (5-1, 2-0 Big 12) from 2000-04 in their annual meeting with the Sooners. Between blowout losses and tight finishes, Oklahoma (3-2, 0-1) always made all the right moves.
Vince Young turned things around for Texas last year. McCoy kept it going this year.
A redshirt freshman who watched Young from the sideline last year, McCoy overcame a slow start by throwing two perfect touchdown passes in the third quarter to turn a 10-7 halftime deficit into a 21-10 lead. Ross did the rest, following his head’s up play with a pair of interceptions that ended the Sooners’ final two drives.
McCoy’s numbers were mediocre — 11-of-18 for 108 yards, plus 11 more rushing — but his poise was off the charts. He overcame an awful second quarter and never turned the ball over.
“When we’ve come out of this game with a huge deficit, it’s usually been because of turnovers,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “Today, they lost five and we lost none. And that’s why the game got to where it is.”
During the five-game losing streak to Oklahoma, Brown was labeled as being outsmarted by Sooners coach Bob Stoops. He didn’t even get all the credit last year’s victory because Young soaked it all up.
This time, Brown made his mark by making sure the Longhorns didn’t let one rough patch overwhelm them.
Texas let an early 7-0 lead slip away by giving up a touchdown and a field goal on Oklahoma’s final two drives of the first half. The worst part was that the offense gained only 1 yard the entire second quarter, wasting great field position.
Brown thought offensive coordinator Greg Davis was being too conservative with McCoy, so he told him at halftime to let the kid loose. McCoy responded with his longest play yet on his first snap of the third quarter and built from there.
He lobbed a blitz-beating 33-yard touchdown to Limas Sweed two plays later, putting Texas ahead. He took the Longhorns 79 yards on the next series, running three times for 23 yards and capping it with a 7-yard pass to Jordan Shipley near the back of the end zone.
“He managed the game for them in a really good way,” Stoops said.
This could prove to be a landmark victory for McCoy, who had the unenviable task of facing No. 1 Ohio State in his second career start. With a few games more experience, he proved he could handle the pressure of a big game, even one that got off to a rocky start.
“Colt has grown so much since Ohio State,” said teammate Selvin Young, who ran for 60 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Texas has now won 17 straight conference games. This one puts the Longhorns in the lead for the Big 12 South and a spot in the conference title game, which could then yield a BCS berth. If things break their way elsewhere in the country, they could wind up with a chance to defend their national title.
Oklahoma was hoping this game would get them back in the race. While the Sooners were able to overcome some early mistakes, their biggest weakness — defense — ultimately was exploited.
Peterson ran 25 times for 109 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown, but Texas was able to focus on him because none of Oklahoma’s other play-makers made the Longhorns pay for it.
The Sooners hurt themselves early: An unnecessary roughness penalty that took 15 yards off what would’ve been a 73-yard kickoff return by Peterson, Peterson’s fumble on the final play of the first quarter and an offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out a 29-yard gain.
Still within reach at 21-10, Oklahoma reached the Texas 15 on a pass to Juaquin Iglesias, but he fumbled. Then came the lateral, which left Stoops as angry as he’d been since the referee fiasco at Oregon three weeks earlier, when a series of close calls led to a 34-33 loss.
He remained angry even after getting the ruling: The ball was “thrown at the 12 and landed at the 12. By rule, that’s a backwards pass.”
“They didn’t say anything about where it hit his hands,” Stoops said. “That’s the part I don’t understand.”
Ross’ first interception with more than seven minutes began an exodus of Oklahoma fans. The rest began heading out when Paul Thompson — who was 15-of-27 for 209 yards — was picked off by Ross again, drawing chants of “Poor Sooners” from the Longhorns fans.
At the final gun, McCoy turned to the crowd and pumped his arm in victory. Last year, Young ran to the seats and gave high-fives and hugs on his way around the seats; McCoy was content blending in with his teammates singing “The Eyes of Texas” in a group in the end zone.
“It’s great for our fans, it’s great for this team, but it’s not me,” he said. “I didn’t come out here and win this game. This is because of my teammates.”


Red River Rivalry

October 5, 2006



OU Wins – 24 Texas 17

If it’s possible, the Red River Rivalry has more significance now than it did in the 1980s, when it was viewed as life-or-death by fans of the Longhorns and Sooners. Of course, the fans’ attitude hasn’t changed — but the country’s has. Since Texas and OU are both nationally ranked and are in the same conference and same division, Saturday’s matchup has Big 12 and national title implications. It’s about as big a conference matchup as you can have.

Each team enters Saturday’s matchup with one loss. No. 14 Oklahoma is still festering over its controversial loss to Oregon and has had an extra week to prepare for this game. Having a week off near the beginning of the season is both good and bad — it gives teams time to heal and time to prepare, but coaches hate to get out of a routine. Coaches spend the time worrying about players traveling home, doing too much, etc.

To beat No. 7 Texas, Oklahoma will have to establish a passing game. As good as running back Adrian Peterson is, he can’t carry the Sooners by himself against a big, athletic, veteran Longhorns defensive line. Ohio State was able to defeat Texas by using a balanced attack; the progress of Sooners quarterback Paul Thompson will be measured by his performance Saturday. Peterson will get his yards, and it will be up to Texas’ D to limit his yards after the initial hit, to keep him from getting 40 yards on what should be a 10-yard run. They have to gang-tackle him, which is easier said than done. When you commit your defense to one person, you run the risk that you’ll give up big plays in the passing game. Oklahoma has shown it has the ability to do that.

Neither quarterback has started a game in the rivalry, and it will be interesting to see how they handle not only the pressure of the other team but also the hundreds of thousands of people in Dallas for the state fair and the general buildup — it’s as close to the days of gladiators fighting in the Coliseum as I’ve seen. This is the type of game you live to play in as a coach and a player — the kind you remember long after your playing days are over.

Adrian Peterson’s Quest for the Heisman!

October 5, 2006

Week 5 – AD gonna send the Longhorns to the butcher! 

RB Adrian Peterson, Oklahoma
AD descends upon Big D with his best chance of 2006 to close the gap on Smith, while maintaining his cushion on the line of contenders forming in the rear view mirror. Unlike last year, when he had an injured ankle and Vince Young was still an amateur, Peterson is completely healthy and the main attraction of the annual Red River Rivalry.
Last Week: Idle
This Week: vs. Texas
2006 Season: 117 carries for 643 yards and 7 TDs – 4 catch for 72 yards and 1 TD
Barometer: Steady