Writer: Lucas Garza
This year’s Red River Rivalry featured two new head coaches for both Texas and Oklahoma. OU fans had on shirts glorifying Lincoln Riley, and many Texas supporters believe that Tom Herman has been able to lead the Longhorns back to a football powerhouse. Even after Oklahoma had a disappointing loss to Iowa State last week, the Cotton Bowl was packed, the atmosphere was great, and the game was intriguing.
The OU offense came out to play, exploiting Texas DB’s Kris Boyd and Brandon Jones early in the game. The Sooners scored on their first three possessions, and the Texas offense was only not able to move past midfield, making the score 17-0. The Texas defense was able to hold OU to a field goal with 4:30 left in the first half, but two personal foul penalties on the Sooners on the Longhorn’s next possession allowed Sam Ehlinger to connect with Kyle Porter for Texas’ first points of the game. OU was able to drive into Texas territory on their next possession, and decided to go for it on 4th and 3. The South side of the Cotton Bowl was in disbelief when Baker Mayfield through his first interception of the season to John Bonney. With only a minute left in the half, the Longhorns’ offense was able to move into OU territory, and settle for a field goal as the clock expired. Oklahoma led 20-10 at halftime.
Oklahoma started the second half with the ball, and was able to turn a five minute long opening drive into a field goal. Texas answered with a long drive of their own, and ended it as Chris Warren III was able to punch in the endzone. After a few punts and turnovers on downs were traded, OU led 23-17 with 10:00 left in the game.
Sam Ehlinger had his best performance of the season on Texas’ next drive. He had a 14 yard run, two completed passes to Reggie Hemphill-Mapps that combined for 29 yards, a 21 yard pass to fellow Freshman Austinite, Cade Brewer, and capped it all off with 8 touchdown run the corner of the endzone. Texas took their first lead of the game, 24-23 with about 8:00 left to play.
OU wasted no time as Baker Mayfield was able to find Mark Andrews wide open for 59 yard touchdown reception. The Sooners failed their two point try, but led 29-24 with just under seven minutes left in the game. On Texas’ next drive, the Longhorns were able to drive past midfield, but Sam Ehlinger was hurt after a hit near the sideline. Shane Buechele was able to pick up two first downs, but was then sacked for a loss of 7 yards. Tom Herman used a timeout to put Ehlinger back into the game on 2nd down, but the team was hurt with a false start penalty on top of the sack from the previous play. Texas would turn the ball over on downs with 1:52 on the clock.
The Texas defense was able to use their good play along with their remaining timeouts to force OU to punt, and the Texas offense would get 42 seconds to try and win the game with a touchdown. A false start and incomplete passes kept the offense from seriously threatening to score. Oklahoma would win 29-24.
The Red River Rivalry is the best rivalry in all of sports. The atmosphere at the Cotton Bowl is unlike any other, and the location of the game should never change. With the Big 12 now having a conference championship game at AT&T Stadium now, it is possible that we could see the Red River Rivalry in a new setting and for the first time in a long time. If this were to happen, or if the game were to permanently move to Arlington, the atmosphere from the Cotton Bowl could not be recreated. AT&T stadium is too big and spread out for fans to be able to experience a true Texas vs. OU game. The Cotton bowl seats are crammed together, and some spectators have obstructed views, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As far as the Longhorns go, most of the Texas fanbase seem to think Tom Herman is doing a good job, and they seem to think Texas is back to being Texas. I happen to disagree, and believe that Texas is looking at another missed bowl game right in the face. At 3-3, Texas needs to win three more games to become bowl eligible. With Oklahoma St. coming to Austin this weekend, the Cowboys love to throw the ball over the middle of the field, which Texas has had trouble stopping every time they play against Mike Gundy. If Texas takes care of business against Kansas and Baylor, it is tough to tell who Texas’ sixth win will be against, but it is possible to see them winning all their games, if you just have some faith.