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Sooners Take Down Texas In Red River Rivalry
October 13, 2012
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

DALLAS - As they like to say on Wall Street, past performance is no guarantee of future results. Making a decision on investments involve the same kind of odds a gambler faces when doubling down in blackjack.

In college football, a team's value is a week to week proposition. What a team accomplished in its last game belongs in a history class. What happened a month ago? Paleontologists might give you the best analysis regarding a team's chances in its next game.

After Oklahoma lost at home to Kansas State on Sept. 22, the Sooners looked out of sync. An off week preceded the Wildcats' visit and an off week followed. When October rolled around, OU had played three games and the lasting impression came from Kansas State 24, Oklahoma 19.

Saturday marked the halfway point of the 2012 season. Oklahoma (4-1, 2-1) celebrated the occasion with a Red River Rivalry romp. There have been dozens of iterations in 107 games in this rivalry but rarely has one team dominated and controlled the other as Oklahoma did to Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

"Oklahoma might be as good as anyone in the league," Texas (4-2, 1-2) coach Mack Brown said. "Against K-State, if they don't fumble it twice ... it was a 14-point swing."

The Sooners' 63-21 victory came the day before the Bowl Championship Series makes its debut. The second half of the season beckons and Oklahoma has positioned itself to make a run at both the Big 12 and national titles. It also might be instructive to point out that two previous OU blowouts - 63-14 in 2000; 65-13 2003 - were victories en route to one national championship and an appearance in another title game.

"This ranks up there with those games," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said, quickly and accurately quoting the scores from a decade ago. "We've got a long way to travel. This game has never been the end-all. We've got to get better and I think we will."

One loss, particularly a loss early in the season, loses its impact as the season wears on. But that's only the case if there are no more losses and the team with the loss starts playing like a contender.

Stoops and his players regrouped in the bye week after the Kansas State loss but questions about his team's mental toughness - then and now - is a sore spot.

"I didn't like the question then and I don't like it now," Stoops said with an edge in his voice. "We lost to a physical Kansas State team, we made some mistakes. We had played three games ... everybody wants to summarize what you are after two games, three games. Doesn't make any sense."

Oklahoma's remaining schedule: home games with Kansas, Notre Dame, Baylor and Oklahoma State, road games at Iowa State, West Virginia and TCU.

The Mountaineers were stunned at Texas Tech Saturday ... the Sooners got their mojo back with a 41-20 victory over the Red Raiders in Lubbock. No. 7 Notre Dame, which won in overtime, comes to Norman in two weeks. Crazy things happen in college football between September and December.

"We're just cuttin' it loose and playing and having fun out there," said quarterback Landry Jones, who passed Steve Davis for the most victories as an Oklahoma quarterback. "We've got a lot of excitement on the sideline. We have momentum but you can't just rely on that. This is a great game for us to build on."

Jones was 21 of 37 for 321 yards - his first game this season throwing for 300-plus. Oklahoma outgained Texas by 388 yards, the biggest total yardage differential for UT since 1950. The Longhorns finished with 289 yards in total offense - but 159 of those yards came against OU reserves in the final four minutes.

Before the clock reached high noon, it was apparent that Oklahoma was in complete control.

"I really was quite pleased to play so well," Stoops said. "Landry (Jones) threw it well, Damien Williams and a host of guys ran it well, everybody caught it well, we tackled well and made adjustments like we needed. The defense stoned the run all day, played great. We did all the things we wanted to do

"It was a complete game."

Oklahoma's first-half domination could be explained in a number of numerical ways. Texas went to the locker room with as many first downs as yards rushing (two). Both UT turnovers (interceptions) came on the Longhorns' only incursions into Oklahoma territory. The Sooners had 407 yards in total offense; they were averaging 464 yards per game.

"We couldn't stop the run," said Texas defensive end Alex Okafor, noting that the Sooners gained 343 yards rushing on 51 attempts. "When you can't stop the run, things get ugly really quick. "

Damien Williams' 95-yard touchdown dash - the longest scamper from scrimmage in the history of this series - opened the first-half flood gates. Wide receiver Kenny Stills wiped out UT's Qunadre Diggs with a block near midfield in front of the OU bench to make sure Williams reached the end zone.

"We practice finishing and I felt like everybody was invested in that play," said Williams, who finished with 167 yards on 22 carries.

"It energizes the team when you can take something to the house from 95 yards," Stoops said. "I saw Kenny coming and I was hoping he could get there. Damien doesn't score if Kenny doesn't get that block."

The Belldozer was moving the line of scrimmage. Sophomore Blake Bell scored four touchdowns with three coming on 1-yard plows. Fullback Trey Millard, who had a 25-yard touchdown catch in the second half, set up one of Bell's scores when he took a screen pass 73 yards. That play featured Millard hurdling UT's Mykkele Thompson while busting through a tackle attempt by Adrian Phillips.

"I knew there was two guys there," Millard said. "One guy tried to tackle me low. I don't know what happened to the other guy."

Other than two late oh-by-the-way touchdowns, UT's highlights were few and were usually followed by lowlights. OU muffed the snap after its first TD and Diggs returned the blocked kick for a two-point defensive TD. The Sooners' next offensive series produced Williams' 95-yard run.

After Carrington Byndom's 28-yard pick six in the third quarter, Anthony Fera doinked the extra point off the left upright. Texas committed a personal foul penalty following its first offensive TD. The Sooners took advantage of a short field to drive for their final points.

"We didn't play well as a team, they out-hit us and we were inept on offense. I'm very disappointed offensively, across the board," Brown said. "The defense fought harder in the second half. It's unacceptable for Texas to lose like that to Oklahoma, particularly two years in a row. That's not who we are."

It will be late November or early December before we know who Oklahoma is. But the picture is developing.

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