Oklahoma football: Four downs on a Red River record rout

Oct 8, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson (5) runs with the ball during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson (5) runs with the ball during the first half against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Oklahoma football team this season, it just did.

The Texas Longhorns absolutely destroyed Oklahoma in the 118th Red River Showdown on Saturday, handing the Sooners 49-0 beatdown and their first scoreless effort in over 75 years.

The Sooners were a complete no-show on offense, and as for the defense, even Alex Grinch’s OU defenses looked better than what was on display in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.

Oklahoma trailed just 7-0 in the first quarter before Texas exploded for 21 more points in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. Unlike a year ago, however, there was no comeback, or even a hint of one.

Late in the first quarter, Oklahoma converted a fake field goal inside the Texas 20-yard line, but the drive stalled on downs four plays later inside the Longhorn 10-yard line. The Sooners had another potential scoring drive snuffed out when on 1st-and-10 from the Longhorn 20, running back Eric Gray took a direct snap, took a quick step forward before attempting a quick throw that was picked off by Jahdae Barron of Texas.

Those two red-zone pushes by the Sooners were pretty much it as for potential scoring opportunities in the game.

The 49-point winning margin was the largest by Texas in the history of the Red River rivalry series. Their previous largest victory margin was 43 points. The last time the Sooners failed to score in a Red River rivalry game was in 1965, when Texas shut the door on the Sooners 19-0.

Before Saturday, Oklahoma owned the longest active streak of scoring at least one touchdown in a game. That streak is now stopped at 167 consecutive games.

Dreadful defense

For the third consecutive week, the Oklahoma defense gave up over 500 yards of offense. The Texas running backs were picking up three and four yards after contact and seemingly had their way against the OU defensive front. And when the Longhorns mixed it up throwing the football, the Texas receivers ran circles around the smaller Sooner secondary. The bottom line is: Oklahoma could not stop the Longhorn offense.

Granted this is a good Texas offense, especially with starting quarterback Quinn Ewers back at the controls, but this is a very bad Sooner defense, which seems to be getting ever worse with each game. Here is a stat that dreadfully tells the story of Saturday’s Red River game: Texas collected 36 first downs to just 11 by Oklahoma. And the Longhorns did it with just six more minutes of possession time than the Sooners (32:59 to 27:01).

I don’t frankly know where Brent Venables and the Sooners go from here on defense, but the remainder of the schedule looks pretty daunting.

Sooners have a real quarterback issue

Dillon Gabriel has had accuracy issues in his last two games, but without the UCF transfer in the lineup, Oklahoma’s offense is operating in neutral, if not backup mode. The Sooners were not able to generate anything against a good Texas defense. I can’t remember the last time an OU offense put the ball in the air just 17 times the entire game. It has to be back in the ’70s and ’80s during the Wishbone days. Five Oklahoma players threw passes in the game and three of them weren’t quarterbacks.

Davis Beville, the backup to Gabriel, is not the answer if Gabriel can’t go. With Beville at the controls, the Oklahoma offense generated just 195 yards of total offense. I don’t know the last time a Sooner offense gained under 200 yards in a game. You certainly aren’t going to beat Texas with that anemic an offense. Because OU couldn’t or wouldn’t put the ball in the air, the Sooners had to rely on an equally ineffective run game. Eric Gray had a decent game, gaining 59 yards on 11 carries, and Jahlil Farooq, a wide receiver, picked up 60 yards on five carries.

Oklahoma employed some wildcat packages to try to get the offense going on the ground, utilizing Farooq and Marcus Major taking direct snaps at the wildcat spot, but the Longhorns for the most part were able to shut that bit of razzle dazzle down.

The reality is, Oklahoma had no chance of beating Texas if the game plan was to run the football. The Texas defense learned early on that the Sooners weren’t going to put the ball in the air and stacked the defensive front to adjust for that.

This team has real problems and may be in jeopardy of getting to six wins

Oklahoma has not failed to get to six wins and bowl eligibility since the 1998 season. That also was the last time both the Sooners and Longhorns were unranked coming into the Red River rivalry game. After the opening three games this season, the thought of not reaching bowl eligibility seemed almost unfathomable. Now, after three straight highly disappointing performances, including 31 and 49-point back-to-back losses, and looking ahead at the remaining schedule, the Sooners could be in jeopardy of preventing a losing season, which also would be their first since 1998.

Sooner fans show their massive disappointment

Oklahoma fans traditionally travel well, and one of the unique features of this rivalry game is that half the stadium, between the 50-yard lines, is filled with crimson-clad Sooner fans, and the other half is resplendent in burnt orange. It’s a beautiful spectacle to behold. Because of the outright dominance by Texas, the likes of which I have never seen in my lifetime of following this game (which goes back to the 1950s), by midway in the third quarter, more than half of the south side of the field (where the Sooner fans are) was empty. This is something that rarely happens in this game.