3 for 3: The good, the bad and the future in Texas Football

Margaret Wirick, Sports Reporter

The Red River Showdown Saturday marked the first time in Texas history that the Longhorns blew a 21-point lead. Oklahoma chipped away at Texas’ lead in the second half and took home the Golden Hat with a final score of 55-48.

The Good

Although the Longhorns came up short, Casey Thompson had his best game of the season. The junior quarterback completed 20 passes on 34 attempts with five touchdowns. Thompson’s 388 passing yards were the 12th most in Texas history.

Xavier Worthy also had a record-setting game. The wide receiver caught nine passes for 261 yards. His eye-popping yardage total was the second most all-time at Texas, just 12 yards shy of Jordan Shipley’s record set in 2009. Worthy became one of three Longhorns to break 200 yards receiving in a game and the only true freshman to do so. Despite his fumble in the fourth quarter, Worthy bounced back with a critical reception to tie the game.

DeMarvion Overshown shut down the Oklahoma offense in the first half. The senior linebacker sacked Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler for a nine-yard loss on the Sooners’ first possession of the game. Overshown then blocked the punt, which gave Texas another opportunity to score. Later in the second quarter, Overshown put the ball back in the Longhorns’ possession by recovering a fumble. Overshown’s critical stops led to Texas scoring just two plays later both times.

The Bad

The Texas defense was gassed in the second half. Oklahoma put up 35 points after emerging from the locker room and scored every time in the red zone. The Sooners left with 339 rushing yards, more than double Texas’ rushing yardage. Oklahoma running back Kennedy Brooks blew past defenders on 25 run attempts averaging 8.7 yards a carry. With 10 seconds left in the game and the score tied, Texas’ defense yet again failed to stop Brooks on his 33-yard rush to the end zone, securing the win for the Sooners.

The offensive line became “leaky,” according to head coach Steve Sarkisian. Five of the seven total quarterback hurries on Thompson came in the second half. Overall the Longhorns’ offensive line allowed three sacks and Texas lost a total of 23 yards on offense. Despite the pressure, Thompson and Worthy had their best pass/receiving game, and Bijan Robinson tied his second best rushing game.

Before the game against Oklahoma, Texas was second in the nation in converting third downs. Although Texas is still in the top 10, the Longhorns moved down six spots due to their dismal performance in this area. Texas was 4-for-12 on third down conversions, only about 33% when the Longhorns were averaging about a 55% conversion rate before playing the Sooners.

“When you’re playing a good front over time, the whole key to the drill is winning on first down so you don’t put yourself in the 3rd-and-long,” Sarkisian said.

The Future

The Longhorns have proven their ability to bounce back after Texas’ early season loss to Arkansas sparked a fire that led to domination in the next two games and a hard-fought win against TCU. The loss to Oklahoma presents another chance to bounce back in a similar way.

Where the Longhorns need to sharpen their game is capitalizing on opponents’ mistakes. There were multiple times in which the Texas defense caused a quarterback scramble, but Oklahoma managed to make the play anyway. The Longhorns need to stay on their toes, finish the tackle and maintain coverage until the whistle blows.

Oklahoma State will be another tough pursuit, with the Cowboys coming in as the No. 12 team in the country. Like the beat-down from Arkansas, Texas needs to take this loss to heart, come out swinging and prove once again that this team is a force to be reckoned with.

“We’ve got to bounce back next week,” Sarkisian said. “We’ve got another great football team coming to DKR with an opportunity to get ourselves right before the bye (week), which I think we will.”