Texas massacre: Longhorns cruise as Cowboys self-destruct
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Sunday, November 01, 2009
8/15/10 at 9:27 AM
STILLWATER — This time, Texas didn't need a dramatic second-half comeback.
This time, there was the combination of Colt McCoy superiority, outstanding Texas pass defense and Oklahoma State self-destruction.
The result, to the dismay of most of an OSU school-record crowd of 58,516 at Boone Pickens Stadium, was a blowout victory for the third-ranked Longhorns.
Just as the 13th-ranked Cowboys had gotten back into the national conversation, they committed five turnovers and got rocked 41-14 by Texas in Saturday night's contest for first place in the Big 12 South.
In seven games before Saturday, Zac Robinson had been intercepted three times. He entered as the Big 12 leader in passing efficiency. In 31 previous starts as the OSU quarterback, Robinson was never intercepted more than twice in any game.
But against Texas, Robinson had a miserable Halloween. He was intercepted four times, and two were returned for touchdowns — a 77-yarder by Longhorn cornerback Curtis Brown and a 31-yarder by safety Earl Thomas.
"I hate that we didn't give Texas our best effort," Cowboy coach Mike Gundy said. "Zac Robinson — he's our quarterback and we're going to stick with him. He's a good quarterback and a good player. He just had a tough night."
In the three previous Texas-OSU games played in Stillwater, the Cowboys led at halftime. And in each of the three, Texas rallied to win. In 2007, the Longhorns scored 24 unanswered fourth-quarter points to shock the Cowboys 38-35.
Texas needed nothing extraordinary on Saturday. Saturday's halftime score: Longhorns 24, Cowboys 7.
"A lot of people questioned whether (the Longhorns) could come up here and play better than they have in the past," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "I do think the reason they played better is that we have great respect now for Oklahoma State."
OSU actually finished with more offense, outgaining Texas 277 yards to 275, but was minus-four on turnovers. Against a Texas team that was ranked No. 1 nationally in rushing defense (41.3 yards per game), the Cowboys ran for 134 yards. Keith Toston had 70 yards on 19 attempts. In his first action since a Sept. 12 ankle-foot injury, Kendall Hunter carried one time for 1 yard.
In three previous victories over OSU, McCoy was great, completing 79 percent of his passes for a combined total of more than 1,000 yards. On Saturday, he was a routine 16 of 21 passing for 171 yards and one touchdown. Greatness was only occasionally necessary. McCoy was at his best during the final two minutes of the first half, after OSU's Beau Johnson scored to pull the Cowboys within 17-7.
At the start of the Texas possession, OSU linebacker Andre Sexton stripped the football from receiver James Kirkendoll, but officials whistled the play dead before the fumble.
"(Officials) said that (Kirkendoll's) forward progress was stopped," Gundy said. "That's not something that you really can question. That was a big momentum swing."
McCoy capitalized with a clutch drive. On third-and-6 from the Longhorn 24, he connected with John Chiles for 16 yards. On third-and-8 from the OSU 40, McCoy scrambled for 19 yards.
With nine seconds remaining in the half, McCoy threw a high ball at the back of the end zone. Texas' Malcolm Williams leaped, made the catch, gave Texas a 17-point lead and pulled the plug on the stadium's electricity.
Ahead of next week's non-conference home meeting with Central Florida, Texas improved to 8-0 overall, 5-0 in the Big 12. The Cowboys' five-game victory streak ended with a resounding thud. OSU is 6-2, 3-1.
Texas has prevailed in 12 consecutive meetings with Oklahoma State and has a series advantage of 22-2.
"Our defense came to play tonight . . . and put our offense in some good situations," said McCoy, who is 40-7 as Texas' starting quarterback. With three more wins, he will have supplanted Georgia's David Greene (2001-04) as having the most victories of any quarterback in major-college history.
On Saturday, Robinson was 15 of 28 passing for 143 yards.
"It was a weird night. We couldn't make the plays early in the game to stay in it," said Robinson, who going into next week's conference game at Iowa State is 75 yards shy of supplanting Gundy as OSU's career leader in passing yards.
During the first half of the Texas contest, the Cowboys blew chances to score and make it interesting. These were among OSU's self-inflicted problems:
After receiving the opening kickoff, OSU's had a 14-play, 54-yard march that consumed 6 1/2 minutes, but it ended with nothing as Dan Bailey missed on a 45-yard field goal attempt.
On a fourth-down play from the Texas 32, Cowboy receiver Hubert Anyiam dropped a Robinson pass at the Longhorn 2-yard line.
During the second period, after Anyiam lost a fumble, Texas drove to a Cody Johnson 1-yard touchdown run and a 10-0 cushion.
Four minutes later, a Robinson pass was intercepted by Brown and returned 77 yards for a touchdown that made it a 17-0 difference.
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As OSU's Wilson Youman walks off the field, Texas' Curtis Brown (3) celebrates with his teammates after he returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World
OSU's Andre Sexton (20) strips the football from Texas' James Kirkendoll deep in Texas territory late in the second quarter Saturday. The play was called dead and there was no turnover. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World
OSU's Keith Toston is crushed by a host of Texas defenders Saturday. STEPHEN HOLMAN/Tulsa World