The demise of the Texas Longhorns has, somewhat, been exaggerated. A college football blueblood largely left for dead put the Big 12 on notice Saturday afternoon in Dallas by upsetting No. 10 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, 24-17. After the game the players hoisted head coach Charlie Strong up as if the team had just won a national championship. You know what? Texas deserved that moment to release some tension with a unified show of joy.
After being flattened last week by TCU, Texas was a program in a big mess with players tweeting at halftime and upperclassmen and underclassmen not seeing eye-to-eye. This was also a good Oklahoma team Texas just defeated. The Sooners climbed to a top 10 ranking after flexing some muscle against West Virginia and showing some good things on offense. None of those good things showed up early enough against the Longhorns though.
Texas held Oklahoma to fewer than 100 yards of total offense in the first half. The Sooners converted just three of their 12 third-down plays, while Texas managed to go 9-of-15 on third downs. For Texas, it was all about getting the running game going to take Oklahoma out of it from the start. D’Onta Foreman led all players with 117 yards and quarterback Jerrod Heard added 115 rushing yards to go with his selectively efficient passing performance (8-of-10 for 53 yards and a touchdown). Johnathan Gray also chipped in with 76 rushing yards. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine carried the football 10 times for just 36 yards and a touchdown. Considering the production Perine showed last season, this was another disappointing result for the Sooners. Perine has rushed for more than 78 yards in a game just once this season (152 yards vs. Tulsa).
This was the first victory in the rivalry game for Strong, and the second win in three years against the rival Sooners for the Longhorns. This season may still be a huge rebuilding year for Texas, but a win against Oklahoma can help the rebuilding process pick up the pace after starting the season with a 1-4 record. There will still be some difficult games ahead for Strong’s Longhorns (Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia), but everybody in Austin deserves at least one day just to celebrate this win few people saw coming.
Texas looks to make it two wins in a row in two weeks when the Longhorns come off a bye week against Kansas State. Oklahoma will take on Kansas State next week in Manhattan.
Nobody could have seen this coming, even after throwing out the records. A week after being ambushed by TCU, Charlie Strong and his Texas Longhorns looked like a completely different team in the first quarter against No. 10 Oklahoma in the old Cotton Bowl. Texas holds a surprising 14-3 lead at the half.
Jerrod Heard completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Johnson midway through the first quarter. The Longhorns made it 14-0 when a break went their way. Lorenzo Joe recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score to make it 14-0 after Oklahoma had fumbled away the ensuing kickoff after the first score.
Texas outgained Oklahoma in the first quarter, 133 yards to just 15, and at the half (169 yards to just 85). Oklahoma went three-and-out on each of its two drives, and the Sooners had to punt four times before being able to put a dent on the scoreboard with a short 21-yard field goal by Austin Seibert after a 12-play drive stalled at the Texas four-yard line. Meanwhile, Texas was building a double-digit lead.
Without a doubt, the first half of this game was the best half we have seen from Texas in a while. Can they keep it going and score what would be a significant upset to get our day started?
As if you needed one more reminder of the new order of college football in the state of Texas, No. 4 TCU (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) hammered Texas (1-4, 0-2 Big 12) in Fort Worth this afternoon. TCU’s 50-7 victory over Texas put to rest some of the concerns over TCU’s defense a week after escaping Lubbock with a wild win against texas Tech. At Texas, a 1-4 start has already put the thoughts of missing the postseason entirely to reality.
TCU quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Trevone Boykin ended his day with 332 yards and five touchdowns through the air, and another 52 rushing yards for good measure. Boykin had three touchdown passes in the first quarter alone, when TCU stomped on Texas with a 30-0 quarter. The quarterback situation for texas is not nearly as good. Tyrone Swoopes completed five of eight attempts for 74 yards, and Jerrod Heard completed just eight of his 20 passes for 48 yards. Two TCU receivers, Josh Doctson and KaVontae Turpin, had over 100 receiving yards and the two combined for six touchdown catches.
The start for Texas was about as bad as it could be. The Longhorns fumbled away the football on their second play on offense and a special teams mishap turned into a safety to give TCU two more points on their second possession. By the time the Longhorns put a dent on the scoreboard, in the fourth quarter, TCU had already scored 50 points.
Patience at Texas is essential for any rebuilding work to be done by head coach Charlie Strong, or any coach for that matter. The question is how much patience will Strong be given, and will it be enough to allow Strong to work his plan. You know things are bad when the TV announcers on the call for the game have to fill time by defending why Strong should hold on to his job as head coach of the Longhorns. Texas is three losses away from being eliminated from postseason consideration, and this Longhorns team still has to play Baylor, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech.
Good luck Charlie. You’re going to need it.
TCU’s next test will come on the road next week against Kansas State. The two biggest games of the season for TCU may not come until the final weeks with a road game at an emerging Oklahoma and a home game to wrap up the regular season against Baylor.
Some scores are deceiving. This one isn’t. No. 11 Notre Dame leads Texas 17-0 through one half of action in South Bend.
Notre Dame thoroughly dominated the half, owning a 14-3 edge in first downs and a 230-74 yardage edge. The Irish marched 55 yards on eight plays on their second possession of the game, and then drove 95 yards on as many snaps on their next touch. Malik Zaire capped the first drive with a 16-yarder to Will Fuller, and Josh Adams punctuated the next with a 14-yard dash. Justin Yoon added a 38-yard field goal to complete the scoring.
Zaire has completed 11-of-13 passes for 144 yards and a score while adding 16 yards on the ground. C.J. Prosise has rushed nine times for 31 yards, carrying the load for Josh Adams, who left in the first quarter with a knee injury.
Texas did not notch a first down until its second-to-last play in the first quarter, an 11-yard dash by Johnathan Gray. Tyrone Swoopes completed 1-of-8 (not a misprint) passes for 20 yards and rushed eight times for 26 yards – most of those scrambles while evading multiple Notre Dame defensive linemen. Gray has rushed three times for 18 yards, and Daje Johnson has netted two grabs for 30 yards and one rush for nine. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard saw limited action, completing a 10-yard throw to Johnson and taking a vicious sack from Jaylon Smith.
Fittingly, the half ended with two Nick Rose 52-yard field goals erased by Notre Dame timeouts, and the third try sailing wide left as time expired.
Texas will receive to open the second half.
Not surprisingly, Texas will begin the season with a familiar face under center.
Charlie Strong confirmed the expected at his Monday press conference, acknowledging that it’ll be Tyrone Swoopes who starts at quarterback when UT travels to South Bend for Saturday’s game against Notre Dame. Swoopes had been in a battle with redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, although most thought the nod would go to the incumbent.
In fact, Strong stated that he had known for a couple of weeks that Swoopes was his guy, but held off on publicly naming a starter to allow the competition to play out a little longer.
Taking over as the starter for a concussed David Ash last season, Swoopes started all but one game in 2014. He had moments where he was brilliant — 300-plus yards passing Oklahoma, Iowa State and Oklahoma State — and others where he looked absolutely lost — 24-point bowl loss to Arkansas, four interceptions in a 38-point loss to TCU. Those latter two performances came in back-to-back games to close out the season, leading Strong to open up the competition in the spring.
Swoopes exited the spring as the No. 1 quarterback, and maintained that position throughout summer camp. As he had previously stated, Strong reiterated that both Swoopes and Heard will see the field.