From the Press Box: Texas vs. Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl

Courtesy of Texas Football

Share or Save for Later

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Save to Favorites

DALLAS – Another classic between Texas and Oklahoma in the Red River Showdown ended in a 55-48 Sooners win. Texas led 38-20 at halftime and 41-30 to start the fourth quarter, but the Longhorns couldn’t hold onto either lead as poor offensive line play prevented Casey Thompson and Bijan from finding the success both achieved in the first half. 

Oklahoma rallied back to take a 48-41 lead with 7:10 left in the game. It was the Sooners’ first lead of the game. The Longhorns rallied back with Thompson finding Xavier Worthy for a touchdown pass with 1:23 left, but the defense couldn’t hold Oklahoma and the Sooners took a lead with a touchdown run with three seconds left in the game. Worthy finished with nine catches for 261 yards and two touchdown catches. 

Texas lost the 2020 matchup with Oklahoma after four overtimes. Texas is now 4-2 on the season and 2-1 in the Big 12. 

Three things I know 

The Texas offensive line is bad: The Longhorns scored three points in the final 30 minutes of game play despite a hot quarterback and the best running back in the nation. The main culprit was the poor play by the offensive line. Thompson rarely had time to complete his drop back or for his wide receivers to complete routes before he was forced to scramble or throw the ball away. The holes for Robinson dried up and he was held in check for most of the second half. The same thing happened in the loss to Arkansas. Texas isn’t a real contender in the Big 12, or in any conference, until the offensive line becomes a strength rather than a weakness. 

The defensive line isn’t much better: Stories after the game will likely concentrate on the change of quarterback from Spencer Rattler to Caleb Williams, but it was the Sooners’ ability to run the ball at will that broke the back of the Texas defense. The entire unit was gassed by the start of the fourth quarter and the yards became easier and easier for the Oklahoma offense. Texas’ front seven was dismantled and bullied. The only player on the unit with a memorable day was linebacker DeMarvion Overshown. Texas allowed 339 yards of rushing to Oklahoma. 

It is good to have fans back: The Red River Showdown in 2020 didn’t feel the same despite a four-overtime thriller. A sold-out Cotton Bowl reminded those in attendance and the ones watching at home what makes college football special. The Oklahoma fans helped will their team to a victory in the second half and both sets of fans should be commended for providing an atmosphere worthy of a classic between two storied rivals. 

Three things I think I know

Bijan Robinson is in the class with Ricky Williams and Earl Campbell: Texas hasn’t fielded a player as dynamic or talented on the offensive side of the ball since Vince Young led the Longhorns to a national title nearly two decades ago. Robinson is special and will likely leave Texas after his junior season held in the same regard as the other great running backs to grace The Forty Acres. The only things that can stop him are Tom Herman and a poor offensive line. 

It is unfair to judge Thompson on the second-half performance: No one can successfully play quarterback from their back. Texas’ quarterback was running for his life in the second half and Sarkisian couldn’t scheme his way out of the predicament. Thompson was 10 of 16 for 244 yards and four touchdowns at halftime. He didn’t forget how to play football in that 20-minute break. Oklahoma’s defense crushed the Texas offensive line and that must be fixed before the Longhorns can accurately assess its quarterback situation. 

Sarkisian is the right man for the job: The 38 points scored by Texas in the first half was as much about scheme as it was execution. And it is hard to argue that Texas didn’t show up to play. The Longhorns jumped out to a 14-0 lead and looked like a team ready to make a statement. It isn’t Sarkisian’s fault that Texas lacks the talent along the offensive and defensive lines to compete for four quarters against teams such as Arkansas and Oklahoma. The Longhorns will hit the transfer market hard to improve both lines of scrimmage in the offseason. 

This article is available to our Digital Subscribers.
Click "Subscribe Now" to see a list of subscription offers.
Already a Subscriber? Sign In to access this content.

Sign In
Don't Miss Any Exclusive Coverage!

We've been the Bible of Texas football fans for 61 years. By joining the DCTF family you'll gain access to all of our exclusive content and have our magazines mailed to you!