58 - 313 (5.4) - 1: Texas rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
37 - 67 (1.8) - 1: Oklahoma rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
More often than not, the Red River Shootout boils down to who wins on the ground. And 313 > 67. Trust me, I'm an accountant. A week after a puzzling gameplan in Fort Worth, the offensive braintrust of Jeff Traylor and Jay Norvell went heavy on the ground and mashed a suspect Sooners defense. Mike Stoops was calm and collected the entire time. Of the Horns 70 offensive snaps, 58 were rushes. The plan included some heavy dose of window dressing with WR motion, misdirection, and attacking OU's Eric Striker, the pass rushing threat that's prone to losing containment against the run.
The Longhorn defense also clamped down on a questionable Sooner run game. Under new OC Lincoln Riley, the Sooners have struggled to assert a solid stable of running backs. DT Hassan Ridgeway dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game, and Poona Ford and Paul Boyette Jr. contributed their strongest performances in burnt orange. Dominating the line of scrimmage freed up the linebackers to smother the OU run game.
9 - 117 (13.0): D'Onta Foreman rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry)
21 - 115 (5.5): Jerrod Heard rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry)
22 - 76 (3.5): Johnathan Gray rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry)
4 - 14 (3.5) - 1: Tyrone Swoopes rushes - rushing yards (yards per carry) - rushing TDs
For the second week in a row, D'Onta established himself as the primary threat on the ground for the Horns despite not commanding a significant share of the carries. More 33, Mr. Norvell. ITN is the official Foreman Fanclub President, and we need something to drum up membership. It was Foreman's 81 yard carry late in the third that set up Texas's final score on a well designed draw play. Again attacking Striker, TE Caleb Bluiett chipped the LB out of the play before sealing a linebacker inside, and D'Onta showcased his impressive balance and surprising speed in barreling through the OU secondary.
Jerrod Heard contributed another 100 yard performance that was equal parts workmanlike and electric. Needing the freshman's legs to carry a significant load, Norvell brought plenty of designed runs meant to attack OU overpursuit and outleverage the Sooners on the edge. And when the design failed, Heard improvised by reversing field on more than one occasion. In the passing game, Heard had a few mental mistakes in taking unnecessary sacks. But on the ground, Heard showed some veteran decision making, staying in bounds late to bleed the clock and sliding to avoid taking unnecessary hits.
Johnathan Gray had some fine moments on the ground, but continues to draw a lion's share of rush attempts despite getting outperformed routinely.
Nice to see the Storm Swooper return in force. Early dominance from the formation helped build the Texas lead and Oklahoma looked like they wanted no part of stopping the 250 lb QB. It's great seeing Tyrone fully engaged and emotional, though he needs to be ready to take more than one snap at a time. Regardless, he's proven a valuable, physical weapon for Texas. And we also finally got the pass out of the Storm Swooper. More on that later.
9 - 16: Texas third down conversions - attempts
3 - 12: Oklahoma third down conversions - attempts
6 - 45: Texas defensive sacks - yards lost
Third down conversions usually come down to one of two things: run game efficiency and quarterback play. The Texas offense's ground game ensured a strong effort on third down, especially important given the team's struggles in sustaining drives.
For OU, the complete failure to establish anything on the ground submarined their ability to sustain drives. And without the ground game working, it fell on Baker Mayfield's shoulders to get Oklahoma down the field. The Texas front had something to say about that. The Sooners could not protect the QB and the pressure either got home or was in Mayfield's head throughout the game. Texas finished with 6 sacks on the day: 2 by the Predator Malik Jefferson, allowed to attack the edge freely with Peter Jinkens performing strongly at inside linebacker; 1.5 for Poona Ford and 0.5 for Naashon Hughes; and 1 each for Hassan Ridgeway and Paul Boyette Jr. That's a lot of beef falling on a small framed QB.
4 - 35 -1: Marcus Johnson receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
1 - 2 - 1: Caleb Bluiett receptions - receiving yards - receiving TDs
Despite a gameplan that wouldn't showcase the passing game, the WRs and TEs came out with tons of effort. They blocked their tails off through every whistle on the afternoon. John Burt, Lorenzo Joe, and Caleb Bluiett were especially effective when it came to driving Sooner defenders out of the way. Bluiett was so effective at one point he was taking out referees with OU blocking sleds. His energy and intensity is such a valuable addition to the offense that you have to wonder why he was ever moved from TE in the first place. I was extra pleased to see him rewarded with the easiest TD reception you'll see a player get.
Marcus Johnson only ended the game with 4 touches, but his electric TD reception/run to start the game was an indicator for how the game would go: Texas would be giving max effort through the whistle and OU would not.
0: Texas special teams screw ups, backbreaking penalties, and overall soul crushing moments
0: number of times OU has not sucked
Real talk. Hook 'em.