Wild and sloppy football littered the Cotton Bowl today, as Texas and Oklahoma played to a quadruple overtime game where the Sooners came out victorious over the Longhorns. The first half featured three turnovers between the two squads, and a punt block by Oklahoma. It was 17-17 at halftime, with both defenses looking strong. The Sooners took the momentum in the second half, scoring 14 unanswered on two runs by Oklahoma running back T.J. Pledger, as the running game began to get going for the Sooners.
The game seemed to be winding down with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger drove the offense on a quick scoring drive in a minute and ten seconds. When the Longhorns got the ball back at the 1:52 mark, Ehlinger was once again able to move down the field and find the endzone on a Keaontay Ingram TD reception from two yards out.
Overtime saw the two teams battling back and forth, but it was the Sooners’ defense that stepped up to end the game. After a Spencer Rattler passing TD and two point conversion, Texas was needed to respond to send it to a fifth overtime. Oklahoma’s Tre Brown picked Ehlinger off in the endzone, however, to seal it for the Sooners.
Texas Needs To Find An Offensive Identity
Despite putting up 428 yards of total offense, the Longhorns found themselves in an all-too-familiar position in Dallas. The running game was non-existent until Ehlinger began to pickup yardage with his feet in the fourth quarter, and Texas didn’t pick up a single first down in the third quarter. Their first ten points of the half came off of turnovers that set up them up inside Oklahoma’s 20 yard line. Texas actually started on their own 43 yard line on average, but the offense didn’t click outside of hurry-up situations, and it seems at times like Texas doesn’t actually know what it’s good at offensively.
Oklahoma Continues To Struggle Late
It had to be tough for Sooners fans to watch this game from the fourth quarter into that last overtime, nervous that they were going to lose another game late. Up 31-17 with 1:27 left in the third quarter, it felt like Oklahoma would be able to salt this one away by taking time off the clock. Yet, only one of the next four drives was longer than two minutes, and the offense only picked up 57 yards for the rest of the game. Even though they came out of this one with the win, the Sooners will need to continue to work on closing teams out.
The Longhorns’ Defense Isn’t The Problem
Or at least it wasn’t the problem for most of today. The Longhorns turned over the Sooners three times in the first half, and were largely able to contain a Sooners offense that wasn’t able to score unless they had great field position. When you take into account the three overtime touchdowns, the Longhorns only gave up 17 points when the Sooners started in their own end of the field. Oklahoma was eventually able to move the line of scrimmage later in the game, but the Sooners possessed the ball for 12 minutes more than Texas. By the time overtime commenced, the Texas defense was visibly gassed.
Spencer Rattler Is The Epitome Of A Freshman
There are more ups and downs with Spencer Rattler than a soap opera. No one can deny the guy’s ability to make clutch throws whenever he needs to, and that was on full display on Saturday. After an interception and a fumble, the redshirt freshman was actually pulled at one point in favor of backup Tanner Mordecai. Rattler’s first half struggles abated in overtime, where he accounted for all three of Oklahoma’s overtime touchdowns.
Oklahoma Needs To Clean Up The Turnovers
Oklahoma managed to get the win here, but both of these squads have problems that need to be fixed. A lot of people will point to the Sooners’ inability to burn clock late here as an indicator of the problem with Lincoln Riley’s squad. If Oklahoma hadn’t coughed the ball up to Texas three times, in the first half, though, they would have likely been up by two or three scores at halftime. The Sooners ultimately won this game because they played better football despite those three turnovers, but they’ve got to clean up those types of mistakes in order to progress this season.
Texas Needs To Clean Up…A Lot
This game did no favors for Tom Herman, who will receive increased – and justified – scrutiny over the next two weeks, as Texas heads into a bye week before facing Baylor on October 24th. The Longhorns issues on special teams continued throughout this game, penalties plagued this squad once again, and through 55 minutes of regulation, this was the worst a Herman-coached Texas team has looked since he took the reins just over 47 months ago. Coming into this season, the Longhorns thought this might be “the year” that they finally get over the hump and look elite from start to finish. Through four games, though, they look like a squad in disarray.