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Three thoughts from the Red River “Showdown”

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How did the Longhorns fare in three important areas against the Sooners?

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Texas Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Four of the most anticipated quarters of the college football season have come and gone, With the Longhorns losing to the Sooners, 34-27. Though Texas was able to keep this game within one score, it largely wasn’t that close of a contest. Texas benefited from two big turnovers in the red zone — a fumble and an interception by Jalen Hurts. Two additional drives stalled in the red zone, forcing the Sooners to settle for field goals.

The Texas defense played with heart, making big plays when it counted, and keeping the game close, despite often playing on the wrong side of the 50 yard line due to struggles offensively. Let’s review how Texas performed in the areas discussed earlier this week.

Contain CeeDee Lamb

Texas struggled to contain Oklahoma’s top receiver throughout the day, as Lincoln Riley was able to create space for his star receiver through the use of motion and a little bit of trickery. On the day, Lamb had 10 receptions for 171 yards and three of the four Sooners’ touchdowns. While the 17.1 yards per catch is well below Lamb’s season average of 24.4 coming into the game, he still accounted for several big plays and put 18 points on the board. Any time a single player finds the end zone three times in a game, it is impossible to use the word “contain” to describe their performance.

Game Score: F

Stop the Run

Oklahoma had two players eclipse the 100-yard plateau on the afternoon. The Sooners finished the day with 38 rushing attempts for 276 yards and a touchdown. While Texas kept the Sooners out of the end zone in the running game for most of the afternoon, runs of 42 and 24 yards on consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter with Texas down by seven helped sealed the Longhorns’ fate. Despite keeping the Sooners out of the end zone for most of the afternoon, allowing a 7.3-yard average and allowing big plays in the run game when it matters most is nowhere near what could be called success.

Game Score: F

H-Receiver Production

Jake Smith did not record a reception on the afternoon, and without reviewing the film appeared to only be targeted on a single pass. Additionally, while Devin Duvernay was able to bring in eight receptions for 54 yards — a decent afternoon — Duvernay was unable to find any space and did not turn in a reception over 20 yards. In fact, the entire Longhorns team only had one reception over 20 yards, a 22-yard catch by Collin Johnson. I am also penalizing the Longhorns here for Duvernay’s questionable decisions on special teams, resulting in poor field position on several occasions.

Game Score: D

Overall, Horns didn’t play well and were fortunate to come up with some big plays defensively that kept them in the game. Additionally, true freshman Roschon Johnson provided an explosive 57-yard run in the third quarter, which led to a touchdown on the next play. Aside from those few flashes, the game was rarely as close as the score.

Fortunately for Texas, they have yet to play their best football game and this loss does not put them out of contention for the Big 12 title.