Longhorns seniors hoping to avoid being winless against rival Sooners

Peter Sblendorio

When the current cast of seniors debuted with Texas in 2010, the Longhorns entered the Red River Rivalry with two straight wins over Oklahoma and four victories in their last five clashes with the Sooners.

The Longhorns failed to replicate this success over the past three years, though, losing all three contests against the Sooners while being outscored by an average of nearly 30 points per game. The seniors realize Saturday’s game is their final opportunity to defeat Oklahoma before they graduate, and they remain intent on picking up their first victory against their rival.

“I think that’s something you’re known for when you graduate from here,” senior quarterback Case McCoy said. “A lot of people ask you what was your record against OU, and I think that becomes a pride issue for a lot of people. For us seniors, its something that we haven’t done. We came here to play in this game.”

The past two games against the Sooners went particularly poorly for the Longhorns, as they dropped the two contests by a combined score of 118-38. Senior right guard Mason Walters said these lopsided losses wounded the team’s pride, and he expects the Longhorns to provide a better showing this season.

“It will wear on your pride after two years,” Walters said. “Everything is being done this week to make sure everybody on this team is ready. I know the seniors are going to do what we can. We don’t want to go out like the last two years. We want to go out and fight and just show everybody that we’re a good team that can execute in high-pressure situations.”

A win figures to be difficult to obtain against a streaking No. 12 Oklahoma squad, though. The Sooners sit tied atop the Big 12 standings as one of just two teams in the conference to begin the season 5-0, including a pair of wins against No. 22 Notre Dame and TCU in their last two contests.

The Sooners boast the sixth-ranked defense in the nation, allowing just 13 points per game this season. In addition, Oklahoma’s pair of dual-threat quarterbacks pose a problem for a Texas team struggling to defend the zone read, as junior quarterback Blake Bell gets the start over freshman Trevor Knight, each of whom have racked up at least 169 rushing yards in their first five games.

The story is different for a Texas team that suffered a pair of non-conference losses early in the season and is without starting quarterback David Ash this Saturday. Despite this, senior defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat remains confident and excited for an opportunity to finally knock off the Sooners.

“It’s definitely an important game,” Jeffcoat said. “It’s big for the Big 12 race. The seniors, we haven’t won in Dallas yet, and that’s tough. We’re excited to get there and excited to play. The seniors are definitely excited because it’s our last chance to go in there and get a win.”

Defeating the Sooners is just one item on the bucket list that the Texas seniors hope to achieve this season. That said, head coach Mack Brown believes the Longhorns are prepared to do whatever they need to accomplish their first goal of defeating Oklahoma.

“They’ve really put an extra emphasis on everything because they haven’t won a conference championship, they haven’t been to a BCS game and they haven’t beaten OU,” Brown said. “They’re really trying. They’re doing everything right to try to finish in the end.”