On Monday, OU coach Lincoln Riley described the status of his injured offensive tackles as “highly unlikely” for participation in the Texas game.
As recently as Thursday, Riley still considered left tackle Erik Swenson and right tackle Adrian Ealy as being doubtful. During Saturday’s Red River Showdown, however, Swenson and Ealy were in the starting lineup and wound up playing during most of the 34-27 Sooners victory.
“They weren’t able to practice much (during the week),” Riley explained during the postgame news conference. “It didn’t look real promising.”
The presence of Swenson and Ealy helped the Sooner offensive line outplay its Texas counterpart. The Sooners rushed for 276 yards and averaged 7.3 per attempt. While OU quarterback Jalen Hurts was not sacked, Texas QB Sam Ehlinger was sacked nine times. On 36 rush attempts, the Longhorns netted only 100 yards.
Pregame penalty flag
At the end of pregame warm-ups, OU and Texas players massed at midfield for a serious trash-talk session. No punches were thrown, but referee Mike Defee responded in a strong way. He threw a flag and announced that every player on each team was on record as having committed an unsportsmanlike-conduct infraction.
No actual penalty was enforced on the opening kickoff, but Defee’s decision was significant because a subsequent unsportsmanlike infraction against any player would have resulted in an ejection. In effect, Defee’s pregame warning shot ensured that there would be less nonsense during the game.
“I think there was a little bit of stuff in the first half,” Defee told a pool reporter, “but I’d say the second half was really well played, from a discipline standpoint.”
A Stoops participant
For the first time since 1998, an OU-Texas game was played without the involvement of a coaching Stoops brother. Bob Stoops was the Sooner head coach in 1999-2016. After OU’s 2018 Cotton Bowl loss to Texas, Mike Stoops was fired from his job as the OU defensive coordinator.
On Saturday, however, there was one Stoops on the field. OU redshirt freshman wide receiver Drake Stoops, Bob’s son, was involved on special teams.
On a 1-yard touchdown catch by CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma had a 7-0 lead through one period. During the first quarters of their six games, the Sooners have outscored opponents 69-7.
During a tremendous performance by the Alex Grinch-coordinated defense, the Sooners tied a program record by sacking Ehlinger nine times.
For the fourth time, OU had a single-game total of nine sacks. It happened previously against Nebraska in 2005, against Arkansas in the January 2002 Cotton Bowl, and against Kansas State in 1983.
OU’s 15 tackles for loss on Saturday was the second-highest such figure in program history. In 2011, the Sooners totaled 16 tackles for loss against Texas.
For the first time since 1996 — when James Allen ran for 159 yards and DeMonn Parker ran for 107 — two Sooners reached the 100 mark in rushing yards against the Longhorns.
On Saturday, quarterback Jalen Hurts was the Sooner rushing leader with 131 yards on 17 attempts. On only 10 carries, running back Kennedy Brooks finished with 105 yards.