Texas' youth does it in against OU

DALLAS -- The Red River Rivalry was cover-your-eyes, hide-the-kids, get-to-the-fried-beer-stat ugly.

Oh wait, most of the Texas players are not old enough to imbibe. Shoot, they may not be old enough to vote.

And they sure aren't old enough to compete with Oklahoma. That much was clear in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday as the No. 3 Sooners slapped the baby faces of No. 11 Texas, 55-17, in front of 96,009 fans.

It got so bad, OU was taking candy from a baby, as OU senior Jemmell Fleming ripped the ball from Texas sophomore wide receiver Mike Davis' hands and ran it 56 yards for a touchdown. That score made it 55-10. The only thing left to do for Texas fans was to get sick on the Texas State Fair rides, provided they weren't sick enough from watching the game.

"We're young, that is part of it," quarterback Case McCoy said. "But we can't come into a game like this and play like that."

Or completely fall apart, which really was the case.

"You can't have five turnovers and win the game," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "We had to win the turnover ratio coming in. We had to win the penalties coming in. We had to win the red zone coming in, and we had to win third downs. I am not sure we won any of them. I think we lost all of them."

Because of all those losses the Longhorns (4-1, 1-1) are no longer the smiley-faced cherubs of college football. Texas was exposed for what it truly is -- a team trying to rebuild against a schedule that didn't allow for it this week and won't again next week against No. 6 Oklahoma State.

"We don't have any time to sit around and feel sorry for ourselves," Brown said.

Texas certainly can't. Not with the schedule that lays ahead and all the mistakes to correct. Most importantly, the turnovers. Three of them went for Oklahoma touchdowns.

"I was disappointed that we didn't live up to our side of the match," Brown said. "It's one of the greatest games of college football. Our players were so excited. Our new coaches were excited, and we didn't live up to our side of it."

Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) did live up to its billing.

The Sooners' defense held Texas to 36 rushing yards. The last time OU faced a Top 25 team, Florida State, it held the Seminoles to 27 rushing yards. McCoy and freshman quarterback David Ash were sacked eight times. They split time at quarterback again and wound up 20 of 36 for 223 yards with two interceptions (both by Ash).

"They snuck around pretty good and blitzed a lot," Brown said. "We didn't handle the blitz very well. And that is what we thought they would do."

That last statement should be alarming for Texas fans after four games in which it looked like the team was progressing. Texas knew what was coming and still crumbled.

Texas' youth was served a dose of reality, but this is definitely a team built on the promise of years to come.

The flashes of talent that were clearly evident against teams that are a step slow -- UCLA, Iowa State, BYU and Rice -- were just that, flashes. Oklahoma is a team that is a step ahead.

Texas players said this loss will only last 24 hours. They refuse to let it linger longer than that.

"Our team is going to make a decision tonight, and we had a chance to make this decision last year, and I'm not sure we made the right decision," McCoy said. "We have a decision tonight to put this behind us and go on and make up for it. I'm confident our team will make that decision. We have worked hard to get to this point, and we are not going to lose it."

Well, that is one thing about youth -- short memories.

Carter Strickland covers University of Texas football and recruiting for HornsNation

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