Red River Shutout: Texas tramples Oklahoma 49-0

Jordan Mitchell, Associate Sports Editor

The Sooners didn’t gain an ounce of momentum in Texas’ 49-0 pounding of Oklahoma at the Red River Showdown.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian told the press Monday that the Sooners like to score fast. However, without starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel, Oklahoma looked frantic and flustered while sprinting down the field. 

Oklahoma’s six drives in the first half had a pattern to them. With many of its plays coming from the Wildformation, the Sooners relied on a rushing scheme to move down the field. 

However, just as Oklahoma gained energy and momentum from its half of the stands, Texas’ offense consistently picked up where its defense left off. 

During its second drive of the first half, Oklahoma sought a response to junior running back Bijan Robinson’s 2-yard touchdown run, taking 12 plays to move 90 yards down the field. While the Sooners’ offense scraped out two fourth-down conversions on the drive, including a fake field goal, the Longhorns’ defensive line stuffed a fourth-and-1 run to force a turnover on downs.

“I thought we found good rhythm after the first drive,” Sarkisian said. “The run game set up a lot of the things we were doing in the pass game.”

Starting the drive on the 8-yard line, redshirt freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers primarily used running backs Robinson and senior Roschon Johnson to escape getting backed up in his own territory. After three short gains by the backfield duo and a reception out of the slot by redshirt junior receiver Jordan Whittington, Ewers gave Johnson a short pass behind the line of scrimmage that he took for a 38-yard gain. 

In the red zone, junior running back Keilan Robinson reached for a reception alongside the Texas sideline to set up sophomore wide receiver Xavier Worthy for a 10-yard touchdown in man coverage, extending the Longhorns’ lead to 14. 

In Ewers’ first game back from a shoulder injury during the week two Alabama game, the Southlake Carroll product threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns, but relied heavily on flashy playmaking from his receivers. Ewers tossed one interception early in the first quarter and threw a few near interceptions in the first half, including one that Bijan Robinson ended up catching for a 12-yard gain off the fingertips of an Oklahoma linebacker. The first down set up Texas for a screen-pass touchdown to Keilan Robinson.

“The ball was going where it was supposed to go and on time,” Sarkisian said. “The playmakers made their plays, whether it’s Xavier (Worthy) or Jordan (Whittington) or JT (Sanders), those guys all showed up.”

While running backs accounted for much of Texas’ success, Texas’ secondary forced four turnovers, including two interceptions, for the first time this season. While Texas’ defensive backs have kept opposing receivers at bay for the most part this season, the position group had only accumulated two interceptions before Saturday.

Late in the second quarter, Oklahoma was in the red zone for the second time in the first half when running back Eric Gray threw a wobbly jump pass out of the wildcat as the pocket collapsed. Reading the awkward play, junior defensive back Jahdae Barron swept over to the middle of the field and jumped up for the interception. 

Earlier this week, Sarkisian said that the secondary put in the effort necessary to force turnovers despite the lack of them so far this season. With its production today, the position group directly contributed to a nine-play 79-yard touchdown drive that ran out the first half clock and sent Texas into the locker room with a 28-0 lead. 

Oklahoma offered little threat in the second half as the Longhorns cruised to victory. The Longhorns’ shutout was the first in the annual rivalry game for either team since 1965.

“I’m super pumped for (our defense),” Sarkisian said. “These guys have been playing really good defense all year.”

Texas’ win against Oklahoma is its first since 2018. It is also Sarksian’s first win against the Sooners in his two seasons at Texas, continuing a 24-year-long pattern of Longhorn head coaches winning the game in their second season with the program.

“I think we’ve gotten to a point where we’ve got a great deal of trust in our program,” Sarkisian said. “For me, it feels great because I know how hard these guys work.”