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Saturday, October 11, 2008
Texas defense rebounds with dominating second-half effort


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

 
 AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
 Texas coach Mack Brown celebrates with Texas defensive tackle Roy Miller (99) and others after beating No. 1 Oklahoma, 45-35, Saturday.

DALLAS - Will Muschamp might not save the statistical sheet of Texas' victory over Oklahoma for posterity.

Even after being gashed for 435 total yards and five touchdown passes in a 45-35 victory over the Sooners, the Texas defensive coordinator couldn't really complain.

"It's a win," Muschamp said with a big smile as he celebrated his team's strong second-half performance. "I've never had a bad one. Not once in my life. Obviously, we're going to look at things and see if they were technically correct. And then, we'll build on the positives."

When Muschamp looks at the films, he'll see a lot of things to celebrate in the Longhorns' strong performance down the stretch. After struggling to pressure Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford for most of the game, the Texas pass rush rose up during the fourth quarter.

The increased heat came mainly because strong play from Texas' defensive line. Texas coach Mack Brown also credited the play of his secondary, consisting of redshirt freshman safety Earl Thomas, freshman Blake Gideon and sophomore Chykie Brown.

"Our defense has done a great job this year of changing things and they covered well today," Brown said. "I did think our guys kept fighting. Will did a good job of showing pressure and backing out and making Sam hold the ball some."

Bradford directed a fourth-quarter comeback last season, leading the Sooners to a victory as a freshman/ He appeared to have the Sooners in place for another as he trailed 30-28 heading into the fourth quarter.

But he couldn't duplicate his magic on Saturday -- mainly because he was scrambling for his life.

Texas defensive end Brian Orkapo seemed to be taking up residence in the Sooner backfield as he repeatedly beat offensive tackle Phil Loadholt.

"We got some pressure going and we did a tremendous job on defense," said Orakpo. "We got some hits on him and made Bradford throw the ball out of bounds. It was a like a street fight out there."

The young secondary added another member when freshman Aaron Williams played most of the second half at nickel back after Ryan Palmer went out with an injury in the second half.

"I'm going to get grey watching them," Muschamp said. "But they just keep playing. They keep fighting. They come on the sideline asking what we wanted to do next. Our offense and kicking game played well and it enabled us to settle down a little in the second half."

The Sooners struggled running the ball all day. DeMarco Murray was bottled up as he produced only six yards. The Sooners were limited to only 48 yards -- the second time in the last three games they have produced less than 50 rushing yards. And as the Longhorns started teeing up their pass rush, Bradford struggled more as the game progressed.

"We knew what they were going to do, but we just couldn't execute," Bradford said. "It was hard to getting anything going against them. It was frustrating."

"We gave them some plays," Muschamp said. "But I'm thinking from a positive standpoint that when they get it right we'll be fine. We just have to make sure they understand what they are trying to do ... That's all on me."