Ugly reality hits hard for Longhorns
October, 8, 2011
By David Ubben | ESPN.com
DALLAS -- It got so bad in the second half, even Bevo had to look away.
The Longhorns' signature steer spent most of the third quarter behind the end zone with his horns pointed at the slowly draining Texas side of the 96,009 fans in the Cotton Bowl.
This was a forgettable stop on this 2011 Longhorns Revival Tour, a season-long crusade to erase the memories of a 5-7 season in 2010.
AP Photo/Mike Fuentes"Can't have five turnovers and win games," Texas coach Mack Brown said.
Oklahoma didn't hit 60 points, but that was about the only positive for Texas, whose 55-17 beatdown did not, at least to my knowledge, come complete with Sooner Schooner tracks along the back of the Longhorns' white pants and burnt orange uniforms.
"I thought they tried," said Texas coach Mack Brown, whose 38-point loss is the third-worst ever suffered in his tenure at Texas. The other two were delivered in 2000 and 2003 on the same field from the same team by 49 and 52 points.
As for what went wrong? Well, where to start?
Three turnovers for touchdowns seems as good a place as any to start digging into this performance, which stunk only slightly less than the gifts Bevo leaves behind on the way to his artificial turf mat behind the end zone.
"Can't have five turnovers and win games," Brown said.
No worries. They didn't.
Demontre Hurst kicked off the party in the end zone with a 55-yard interception return to put Oklahoma up 27-3 in the second quarter.
Any halftime locker room dramatics didn't follow Texas onto the field. Frank Alexander sacked Case McCoy and forced a fumble, which David King casually picked up and strolled 19 yards into the end zone to make it 41-10 early in the third quarter.
"They were just out there flying to the ball, playing faster than us," said Texas running back Fozzy Whittaker, one of the bright spots for the Longhorns on Saturday. Whittaker ran hard all day, returning a kick 100 yards for a touchdown and carrying the ball six times for 43 yards.
"It's one of those things where you just have to stand back and give them credit for doing what they do best," he said.
Saturday was 60 minutes of reality setting in for Texas: It might be better than it was last year, but Texas needs some high-quality binoculars to get a glimpse of the national elite.
The Longhorns' No. 11 ranking was gone sometime in the second quarter, at some point between one of Landry Jones' 23 completions, 305 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
"They've got all the athletes and stats for a reason," said Texas safety Blake Gideon.
Texas' offense? The only offensive touchdown of the day came with 2:31 left to play and the Longhorns trailing 55-10.
Texas had a great opportunity with a 1st-and-10 at Oklahoma's 14-yard line late in the third quarter.
Then came a bad snap. Then David Ash got sacked by speedy Tony Jefferson, who intercepted Ash earlier, too.
Then Ash got sacked by Ronnell Lewis, who forced a fumble and ... "Hey, how'd we end up with a 4th-and-49 on our own side of the field?"
Games like this, in raucous environments against very, very good teams, expose inexperience. Texas didn't have much covered when it was all over.
"We mixed it up. We played man, we played some zone, we mixed up some man zones," said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. "[Jones] knew where to go with the ball, he knew how to manage the play, he took what was there when it was there."
AP Photo/Mike FuentesRonnell Lewis sacks Texas quarterback David Ash, forcing a fumble.
Diaz, despite Oklahoma's assertions after the game, said the youth of his cornerbacks wasn't to blame.
"Defending the run and defending the pass is an 11-man job," Diaz said.
Official numbers are sketchy, but the 11 men Texas put out on the field weren't getting much of a job done against an offense that the Longhorns couldn't compliment enough after the game.
"I can see why they're No. 1 in the country," Brown said, later noting that the coaches kept the Sooners at No. 1 while the media polls slipped the Sooners to No. 3, behind Alabama and LSU.
Wherever Texas falls in the polls after Saturday's forgettable turn at the State Fair of Texas, it'll be far, far behind Oklahoma.
And just like every Saturday, for this one, Bevo had the most enjoyable seat in the house.