After the 63-21 loss to the No. 13 Oklahoma Sooners, questions once again arose about Mack Brown's ability to coach the No. 15 Texas Longhorns out of the pit the program had fallen into in 2010. The Longhorns appeared to be headed back into the conversation as a national contender after starting the season 4-0, but two straight losses has the Longhorns potentially falling out of the AP Top 25.
At some programs, the simple answer would be to fire the head coach. For the Longhorns right now, as Brown isn't going to be pushed out, but does appear to need some type of quarterbacking brilliance just to win a game against Bob Stoops right now.
After the game, IMG radio man Ted Emrich said Brown was as beaten down after the game as he's been in the five seasons he's covered the Longhorns. As he should have been, but considering that hangdog Mack was supposed to have been banished as the result of his post-2010 changes, seeing that person again is alarming.
Riding a balanced offensive attack and a dominant defensive effort, the Oklahoma Sooners crushed the Texas Longhorns 63-21 in the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday afternoon. The 13th-ranked Sooners never looked in danger as they continue their recovery from a loss to Kansas State three weeks ago.
Until the end, the blowout approached the series margin of victory record. In 2003, Oklahoma topped Texas by 52 points.
While the Longhorns managed to put 21 points on the scoreboard, the offense looked inept practically all afternoon. Only 13 of the team's points were provided by the offensive unit, which mustered just 289 total yards and 14 first downs against the Sooners' defense, much of that coming once the game was already well in hand.
With the offense struggling, Texas needed a failed extra point attempt by Oklahoma and an interception return by cornerback Carrington Byndom to even get on the scoreboard in the first three quarters. Other than Byndom's pick-six, the defense didn't help much, either, allowing the Sooners to run wild all afternoon.
Oklahoma wasn't as aggressive in the second half, but it still managed to put up 677 total yards and eight touchdowns against the Longhorns' defense. It was an especially even attack, too, as the Sooners piled up 334 yards through the air and 343 yards on the ground.
Box Score Hero: A few different players put up huge numbers for the Sooners on Saturday, led by running back Damien Williams, who rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown. OU also got 321 passing yards from Landry Jones and four first half touchdowns from Blake Bell, who crushed the Texas defense in the red zone.
Rankings Ramifications: Coming off a second consecutive defeat, expect the 15th-ranked Longhorns to take a mighty fall in the rankings this week. A couple weeks ago, it seemed like Mack Brown finally brought Texas back into the national conversation, but the Sooners have quickly put that notion to sleep for now.
But Did They Cover? The Sooners were three-point favorites, so they obviously covered.
As the Red River Shootout regains its luster this season, the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners hope that the man they call "Belldozer" can play an important role against the No. 15 Texas Longhorns this Saturday.
That would be Blake Bell, the 6'6", 254-pound sophomore Sooners quarterback. In his young career, he has thrown just nine passes for 69 yards. So why the spotlight? Here's the background on Bell from the Texas site Burnt Orange Nation:
Blake Bell was a highly rated pro-style quarterback recruit from Wichita Bishop Carroll. It has been posited he was one of the most highly, if not at the top, sought after high school recruits in Kansas football history. His massive 6-6, 254 lb frame is but one of his natural attributes drawing coach's attention both far and wide. But it was his production on the gridiron that shined brightest. And for Bob Stoops this was a big need as a back-up, and ultimate replacement, for ... Landry Jones.
Last week at Texas Tech, Bell rushed seven times for 17 yards and two touchdowns, as he is often called upon in goal-to-go situations for his strong, bruising frame.
Over his career, he has 13 rushing touchdowns on 191 yards. Last year in a loss to Baylor, Bell ran the ball just five times, four of which were touchdowns. He also added three touchdowns and 51 rushing yards in a bowl win over Iowa.
So when Oklahoma gets near the goal line, expect Blake Bell to come bulldozing.
After a dominating 41-20 drubbing of Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, Oklahoma comes into the Red River Shootout as a slight -3 favorite over Texas in what could be one of the most unpredictable matchup between the two bitter rivals in many years.
For almost a decade, the game in Dallas has been one of the biggest of the college football season, with both schools coming in undefeated and playing for first place in the Big 12 South.
But now that the Big 12 has dropped to 10 members and eliminated the conference title game, both the Sooners and the Longhorns could find themselves on the outside of the conference race if they lose on Saturday.
Oklahoma was stunned by Kansas State in Norman, Okla., three weeks ago, while Texas fell to West Virginia in a thrilling 48-45 shootout last week.
The Longhorns will be expecting a lot more from David Ash and the offense than they got in 2011, when they were hamstrung by Ash's lack of experience and forced to play a conservative style that couldn't keep up with Landry Jones, Ryan Broyles and Kenny Stills.
Jones has struggled mightily since Broyles' injury and subsequent departure to the NFL, but the Texas defense, which many thought would be the strength of the team, may be an elixir, as they've displayed an astounding inability to wrap up and tackle players in the open field over the last three games.
The over-under is currently sitting at 61, as odds makers expect both Ash and Jones to come out firing on Saturday.