We quietly mocked this game in Stillwater, writing off the Pokies and guaranteeing a Horns blowout.
Oklahoma State 15 Montana State 10
Oklahoma State 23 Florida Atlantic 3
Oklahoma State 20 Arkansas State 10
Oklahoma State 0 Colorado 34
Oklahoma State 31 Missouri 38
Oklahoma State 23 Texas A&M 62
Oklahoma State 10 Iowa State 37
Average score: Oklahoma State 17 Opponent 28
Wow. That's including the three puff cakes they played at the beginning of the year. Folks, this is a bad football team. I'm not sure how you lose to Iowa State by 27 points. I'm not sure how you only beat Montana State by 5 points.
Is there anything to preview here? Not really. A loss here would be the biggest upset in the last ten years, easily. So, rather than breakdown how much better we are than them, here are a few questions in my mind this week:
*Will Quan Cosby assume the punt returning duties permanently? (He looked great against Tech)
*How healthy is Jamaal Charles?
*How far back has Selvin Young really come?
*Will Texas cover the 37 point spread and move to 8-0 ATS for the year?
*Does Bevo ever get full?
*How nervous will Joe be at his wedding? How drunk will I be?
As you can see, my attention span for this game is limited. I expect nothing short of a total blowout. Anything under a 30 point shellacking will be a disappointment. Joe picked a good weekend to get married, after all.
As we all know, the Cowboys came out gunning for Texas and built a big lead early. Dozens of terrified Longhorn fans darted back and forth between the Barton Creek Resort sports bar and Joe's wedding reception. We weren't particularly happy to be doing it that way, but everyone understood what was at stake. Vince brought the Horns all the way back and completed the rout, but not before scaring half the state silly.
It was another scary first half for the Horns against Oklahoma State, as the stars aligned perfectly for the Cowboys and allowed them to open up another big first half lead. But like last year, the large deficit didn't hold, as Texas finished the game with a 38-0 run to win once more.
Still, it was a concerning game. The defense couldn't stop the run in the first half, and the offense was flat. It was partly Texas being bad, and partly Oklahoma State putting everything together for a half. From the great runs, to the Texas mistakes, to the crazy deflected touchdown catch, everything went the Cowboys way for a half. It looked like the perfect storm was gathering that could wipe out Texas' dream season.
And yet, by the end, it was a 19 point victory for the Horns. Had they played with the same focus and intensity at the beginning of the game that they had at the end of the game, they would have won by 50. Why Texas was so flat is a mystery, and Mack Brown and Gene Chizik need to figure out why Texas stumbled out of the gate. There won't be any coming back from down three scores to a team like USC.
Lost in all the discussion about the Rose Bowl and Heisman trophy is the marginally important little fact that Texas is still playing games. Or, in last Saturday?s case, half-games. Last week?s game deserves lots of discussion?starting now. We?ll break it down, numbers style, with help from Mack?s Monday press conference.
0?Texas? turnover margin this year. As good as this defense has been overall this year, the turnover margin is even? The offense isn?t giving the ball away at an alarming clip; we?re just not getting as many takeaways as you?d expect from an undefeated team. Mack said, ?It?s a real concern for us. We had our hands on four interceptions and we dropped them. It?s amazing this time of the year that only five teams are still undefeated, and for us to be one of them, and even in the turnover margin, is nearly unheard of.? Very true. Texas needs more takeaways.
250?Oklahoma state rushing yards. Are you freakin? serious? This was clearly the most troubling aspect of Saturday?s game, as the Pokes rushed at will in the first half. Granted, Chizik made the requisite adjustments, but there?s simply no way that Texas can even sniff a national championship allowing that kind of rushing to occur. I don?t even want to think about what Reggie Bush would do if we tackled as poorly as we did on Saturday. Think 200 yards and four scores and you?d be in the right ball park.
79-26?Oklahoma State first half points versus Texas points in the first half over the past three years. This is pretty inexplicable, considering the next stat:
118-0?Texas second half points versus Oklahoma State second half points over the past three years. I just don?t get it. The key for Texas is to not have that happen again for the remainder of the season, as they did last year once more against Kansas.
25-2?Vince Young?s record as a starter. If he?s not the Heisman winner, he?s definitely the MVP. The guy is just unbelievable, and his leadership abilities have developed as much as all the other aspects of his game. A great stat for Travis?s argument is:
506?Vince Young?s total yards on Saturday. That?s just off the charts. 267 rushing? From your quarterback? It?s pretty hard to argue against those numbers. The problem, though, is that Vince contributed to the team?s first half struggles. The interception and fumble were instrumental in helping the Cowboys build the early lead. Still, when the situation got dire, Vince turned everything around and was other-worldly. He?s very, very Heisman worthy, whether or not he wins it.
3-for-15?Oklahoma State on third down. The defense deserves some criticism for the weak rushing defense in the first half, but overall, the numbers are a little deceiving. The defense was pretty stout on Saturday. The Cowboys put a lot of nice plays together in the first half that culminated in that big lead, but take away some of their field position and that lucky deflected touchdown catch, and Texas could have easily won the game 47-14. It?s a moot point, but the defense wasn?t quite as bad as we initially thought. It?s still one of the nation?s best units.
5, 71?Ramonce Taylor carries and yards rushing on Saturday. Here?s where the Texas? depth comes in to play. With Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles ailing, Taylor filled in ably, and will probably do so more over the rest of the season. Fine by us. He?s lightning quick, has a good nose for the holes, and breakaway speed. In fact, if Charles can get healthy, a Charles-Taylor duel threat is flat out scary. Second to none? well, that White-Bush combo ain?t too bad, either. God I hope we play them. Forget the fact that I?m totally partisan?a USC versus Virginia Tech game just sounds boring.