And the Texas Longhorns left zero doubt on Saturday in the Cotton Bowl in a 49-0 win over the Oklahoma Sooners. They left no doubt who the better team was and they absolutely left no doubt about which program is heading in the right direction coming out of the annual Red River Showdown.
I’ve watched a lot of Texas/Oklahoma games in my 34 years of life, and I can’t recall one being more lopsided than the one I witnessed yesterday. From the opening whistle until the clock hit triple zeroes the Longhorns opened up an entire case of whoop ass on the Sooners. It was never close and even though the final score read 49-0, the Longhorns could have scored 60 if they wanted to.
Coming into this game, everyone knew the Sooners were wounded and were vulnerable in a lot of ways, but you can take nothing for granted in rivalry games. I predicted a Longhorn win in the matchup, but I anticipated it would still be close because weird things happen like that in rivalry matchups. Obviously I ended up giving Oklahoma too much credit and Texas not enough in hindsight.
A lot of kudos to go around in this one. The Longhorns checked practically all of the boxes in this performance and that makes these kinds of pieces fun to write.
So with that said, let’s start from the top.
This was a complete dismantling of Oklahoma in all phases
I’m just going to keep it a stack. This was a complete ass kicking by the Longhorns yesterday. We all knew Oklahoma was going to come into the game banged up in some places, including at quarterback. Brent Venables went to very weird lengths to try to conceal the fact that Dillon Gabriel wouldn’t play in this game, including having him suit up, go through warm ups, and take reps in their team session before kickoff.
All of that just for Gabriel to come back out in shorts and t-shirt and for them to run out Davis Beville for the first series. Personally I think Venables should have spent more time trying to prep his quarterback to play, because what we proceeded to see was an offense which could not complete a forward pass with a quarterback in the year of our Lord 2022.
I had a feeling we would see some kind of unconventional offense sets from Oklahoma with Jeff Lebby given he was on staff at Baylor when Art Briles had to go way off script offensively in 2015 when they had a similar quarterback situation. The issue for Oklahoma was that Briles’ offensive mind wasn’t walking through that door and you can only attack a defense in so many ways from the Wildcat package.
Once the Texas defense realized that the Oklahoma coaching staff was terrified to let Beville throw the ball they absolutely teed off on the run game and put the Sooner offense in tough down and distances. If the ball had to go in the air Texas was winning the battle because Beville is just that bad at throwing the football.
The Longhorn defense had the Sooners in a deep choke hold and the Texas offense continuously landed haymakers right on the jaw until they rendered the entire Oklahoma team unconscious and unable to respond.
If you had been waiting for Texas to put together a complete game this was it right here. They came out the gates guns blazing and once they had their firmly on Oklahoma’s throat they applied pressure until the light faded from its eyes. It was truly All Gas No Brakes in the Cotton Bowl and everyone from the coaches right down to the players deserve heavy praise for the performance yesterday. It was a complete team win and this team looks like they can compete with anyone left on their schedule.
Texas made their archrival flat out quit in a must win game for both teams. It was clear from the beginning who wanted to be there more.
Quinn Ewers is BACK
The mullet is back folks and he is looking mighty healthy. Last we saw of Ewers he was absolutely picking apart the number one ranked Alabama Crimson Tide defense in the first quarter before being knocked out of the game and then missing several weeks.
A lot of people, including myself, were worried about Ewers not having a tune up game before getting back in the starting lineup for this matchup. Turns out he didn’t need it.
People don’t understand how ridiculous of a throw this is from Quinn Ewers pic.twitter.com/2SeOjBH2tV— MattBeGreat (@mattbegreatyt) October 8, 2022
That’s NFL stuff on both ends of that play. That was a scud missile into a tight window and then you got Bijan Robinson activating demigod mode and making an unreal catch to move the chains.
Stuff like that should absolutely terrify opposing defensive coordinators, because if he is doing stuff like this coming off a multi-week layoff in year one of being a full-time starter then this league is in trouble. He is only going to get better and he is uncorking some big boy throws every time we see him out there.
Ewers ended the day 21-for-31 passing for 289 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He had the one interception on the day where Steve Sarkisian said the ball slipped out of his hand as he tried to throw it away. A play before that Ewers misfired on a play that would have been a walk in touchdown to Jordan Whittington up the sideline. He was damn near flawless in his return.
I said it on Twitter, but you probably noticed that all the naysayers who took shots at Ewers and called him overrated have been mighty quiet since the season started. I wonder why that is?
The Texas offense is a nightmare to defend
Piggybacking off talking about Ewers. Let’s talk about how hellacious this offense is when it is clicking on all cylinders. You can say whatever you like about Steve Sarkisian, but the man is a damn wizard on the white board when it comes to play designs.
This screen to Roschon Johnson early in the second quarter let me know that Sark was in his bag EARLY.
Keilan Robinson motion sends the play flow to the field side, Ewers spins and Roschon Johnson is perfectly set up on a screen. Elite play design #HookEm | @Horns247 pic.twitter.com/GAtI3DTYyr— Hudson Standish (@247Hudson) October 8, 2022
This was easily my favorite call of the game. Sark is going to give you a bunch to prep for each week and when the offense is playing the way it is, so many different players can hurt you on any given snap.
Crazy stat from Saturday? Texas scored 49 American football points and only two wide receivers got on the stat sheet with catches (Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington). The rest was backs and tight ends. Oh by the way, tight end Jahleel Billingsley returns to action next week after serving his six-game suspension. Yet another weapon incoming for Ewers and Sarkisian to attack defenses with.
Ja’Tavion Sanders is already on pace to have one of best seasons by a tight end in school history and now you have another receiving threat at the position to worry about.
Texas controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball
Games are won and lost in the trenches and it was clear from the beginning that Texas was in complete control of the line of scrimmage in this matchup on both sides of the football. The Texas offensive line completely dominated the Oklahoma defensive front, as they kept Ewers and any other quarterback who got into the game clean. The Sooners did not register a sack on the afternoon and according to Pro Football Focus they only had one quarterback hit all game that was attributed to Ja’Tavion Sanders.
Bijan Robinson heads into the endzone untouched from 11 yards out. Fantastic execution from the Texas OL and JT Sanders #HookEm | @Horns247 pic.twitter.com/n2rsRGglw2— Hudson Standish (@247Hudson) October 8, 2022
The Texas defensive front conceded some yardage to the Wildcat formations, but once they got locked in to what Oklahoma wanted to do they tightened up and started shredding their offensive line. The early red zone stand set the tone for the rest of the game and the Sooners only truly threatened to score one other time the rest of the contest, which was when Jahdae Barron picked off the errant jump pass.
T’Vondre Sweat and the interior of the Texas defensive line win their matchups and force a turnover on downs! #HookEm | @Horns247— Hudson Standish (@247Hudson) October 8, 2022
The Texas interior defensive line has been really good this year and guys like Keondre Coburn, T’Vondre Sweat, Moro Ojomo, and Byron Murphy all played well. Coburn in particular is having his best season as a Longhorn to date and might be playing his way onto a NFL roster.
Round of applause for the old heads
Going to use this last portion to give a good hearty shoutout to the seniors and to the guys on the roster who earned their first victory over Oklahoma yesterday in the Cotton Bowl. It was mentioned several times that there were guys in the locker room who had never experienced beating Oklahoma, so to see the team go out there and absolutely throttle the Sooners in historic fashion had me elated for those guys in particular.
Take Roschon Johnson for example. Number two is my favorite Longhorn on this roster and all you have to do is watch him week in and week out to understand why. Roschon didn’t know what it felt like to be able to celebrate with the Golden Hat until yesterday.
Victory at last! @roschon #hookem #TexasFight pic.twitter.com/jI5RFSyYQP— They call me Big Elly (@KJandAJDaddy) October 8, 2022
The picture says it all. The kid bleeds burnt orange and is the unquestioned leader of this football team. If it doesn’t make you feel something to see him in that moment right there... then you simply don’t have a pulse.
Celebrate this win because wins like them don’t come around very often. After that it is time to refocus and get ready for the next part of the revenge tour. The Cyclones are up next.