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Texas vs. OU: The end of the Mack Brown era?

Is a devastating loss in Dallas that ended with their QB knocked out and the Longhorns crying uncle the beginning of the end in Austin?

Tom Pennington - Getty Images

Only one team was going to come out of this rivalry game with a chance to have a big season. In a game that summed up the Rivalry in the Brown vs. Stoops era, Oklahoma answered the bell and Texas let Bell run for 4 touchdowns.

The Sooners came to play and brought some fire to the trenches where they stuffed Texas' first four drives and forced three-and-outs. On their fifth drive Texas tried to air the ball out and build some positive momentum in a game that was quickly getting out of control. Oklahoma cornerback Aaron Colvin intercepted a deep post and the beating continued.

Heading into the game, Texas was in danger of having an identity as a team with a soft run defense and finesse offense. They had struggled to establish the running game against OSU and West Virginia while yielding 7.7 yards per carry in their three games against BCS Conference opponents.

Against OU, Texas gave up 343 rushing yards at 6.7 yards per carry while only rushing for 74 yards themselves, mostly with the game well in hand for the Sooners. Stoops' team thoroughly dominated the trenches, a reoccurring theme in his 9-5 performances against Mack Brown, and set the tone for the game with physical play at every position.

Early on, the Sooners came out on offense in the pistol formation with one or two fullbacks, making it clear that they were going to relentlessly hammer the Texas run defense until they heard "Uncle!"

After the game, Coach Stoops was coy about whether these formations and plays would define the Sooners in conference play but it was clear that their offense thrived with the play-action and space in the passing game afforded by the run-heavy approach. Star fullback Trey Millard finally found himself featured in the gameplan and responded with 164 total yards of offense, a touchdown, several big blocks for Damien Williams (who ran for 167 yards himself), and a few highlights jumping over Texas defenders.

Even the Oklahoma receivers got in on the action with Kenny Stills blindsiding Quandre Diggs who was attempting to stop Damien Williams' 95 yard touchdown run. All the big hits in this game were being delivered by Sooners to Longhorns and the overall result was a bruising defeat that destroyed the image of a physical, Power-run game oriented Texas team.

While Oklahoma was finding their identity behind their loaded backfield and suffocating defense, Texas was watching the season run away from them...after first running them over. Meanwhile the player who was carrying the team while the running game stalled and the defense was getting throttled, David Ash, left the game with a swollen wrist and a doubtful prognosis for at least the near future.

I feel overmatched. I always thought when I got older God would sort of come into my life in some way. He didn't. I don't blame him. If I was him I'd have the same opinion about me that he does.

-Ed Tom Bell

Watcha got ain't nothin new. This country's hard on people. You can't stop what's coming, it ain't all waitin' on you. That's vanity.


Mack Brown has been the head coach at Texas for 15 years, 14 of those years came with Bob Stoops coaching Oklahoma. The second time they faced off the score was OU 63 Texas 14. Since then, Oklahoma has added gems such as 65-19, 12-0, 55-17, and now 63-21.

In 2008, there was a wind of change in the air and a sense that UT would no longer be Stoops' personal doormat after five consecutive losses to initiate the aughts, but the last two years have seen Oklahoma outscore Texas 118-38, and most of the 38 Texas points came against the 2nd team Sooner defense.

When asked after the game why Oklahoma always seemed to come out with more fire in this game Mack said,

I don't know. It is what it is. They just hit us. I don't know how to define it in one word.

-Mack Brown

Overmatched was the word Mack was looking for, Texas is overmatched by Oklahoma and today's Big 12. They shouldn't be, they still have more talent and resources than anyone else in the league. They are overmatched because Mack Brown is overmatched. He has been unable to develop the considerable talent he amasses both on the field and in his coaching staff into an overall product that can match Stoops' program at Oklahoma or match the expectations that his own success has created.

Despite the numerous blowouts Texas has endured against Oklahoma, Mack Brown doesn't have answers for how this keeps happening or how to prevent it from continuing to occur. At 61 years old, and after his attempt to overhaul and rejuvenate the program with the staff changes after 2010, it's hard to believe that Mack has anything left to offer.

From here on out Texas will struggle to find meaning for this season. With Ash injured and two of the season's biggest games already over what motivation exists for this Texas team? Winning one or two more games than last year? This team's identity is shattered, the future is completely unclear, and season's goals of winning 10 games and competing for the league crown are lost.

The Red River Shootout has concluded for another year and exposed the terrible warts in the Texas program once again. This is a tradition that cannot continue, but it may until Mack Brown rides out into the sunset and gives up his attempt to redefine a legacy that's already written in stone.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.