Heard, Longhorns look to upset No. 10 Oklahoma in Red River Showdown

Nick Castillo

Then-senior quarterback Case McCoy set back to pass and unleashed a floating dagger that found the hands of wide receiver Mike Davis for a touchdown en route to a 36-20 win over Oklahoma in 2013.

McCoy’s Longhorns were the last to beat the Sooners and only the second Texas team to win the Red River Showdown since 2009. As Texas prepares for the 110th renewal of the Longhorn-Sooner rivalry game, redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard remembers the 2013 game.

“[My favorite moment] was two years ago, when Case McCoy beat OU, and he threw that deep ball to Mike Davis, and the crowd erupted,” Heard said. “When I look back at that, that’s what I want to do.”

Much like McCoy’s Longhorns, Heard and the team enter this season’s rivalry as heavy underdogs. Oklahoma is ranked No. 10 and has a perfect 4-0 record. The Sooners have an electric passing game led by junior quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has thrown for 1,382 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015.

The Longhorns’ defense has struggled this season, giving up 296.6 passing yards per game – worse than 117 of 127 FBS schools.

Texas allowed 376 passing yards and six touchdowns to TCU in its 50-7 loss.

Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said the Longhorns will have to eliminate their mistakes against the Sooners.

“If you live in the past, the past will come back to get you,” Bedford said. “If you learn from it, move forward and say, ‘What can we do to get things going in the right direction?’ … Let’s not make the same mistakes again.”

In addition to Texas’ defensive struggles, the Longhorn offense is in a rut. Heard compiled just 48 passing yards against TCU.

And the Longhorns only managed to find the end zone once – in the fourth quarter, when junior quarterback Tyrone Swoopes connected with sophomore wide receiver Lorenzo Joe for a 21-yard touchdown.

Head coach Charlie Strong said Texas will need a much better performance from its offense to match a challenging Sooner defense.

“[Oklahoma’s defense is] athletic,” Strong said. “They are one of the most athletic fronts we are going to play against. They fly to the ball, and they don’t make a lot of mistakes. So when you face a team like that, you have to execute and drive down the field and take what they give you.”

Despite Texas’ lowly 1-4 record, Strong said the rivalry game came at the right time for his team.

“It’s time for us to get our confidence back and get these guys back on track,” Strong said. “Yes, [the game] falls at a great time for us. So we’ll see just how much we are going to go out and go compete, and how much we’ve got to get them prepared and get them focused.”

Heard and the Longhorns will need plenty of focus against the Sooners. They’ll need some luck they haven’t had yet, and maybe a McCoy-esque floater by Heard.