Besides Texas defensive penalties keeping three of OU's four touchdown drives alive, the biggest factor in a 28-20 win Saturday afternoon in the Cotton Bowl was the Sooners twice held the Longhorns to field goals on first-and-goal situations.
"Our red zone defense is much improved," said OU linebacker Travis Lewis. "Even last week against Cincinnati we had that bend-don't-break defense. It's night and day from last year because last year when they got down there, guys would be tired and we'd give up touchdowns. This year we have a different attitude."
Said defensive coordinator Brent Venables: "Obviously that was a big difference in the game... Our guys buckled down and made some huge plays. You're looking at six, seven, eight plays where they really played their butts off at the right time."
LONGHORNS WERE INCHES AWAY
When Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones fumbled late in the game, a wild scramble ensued near the Texas sidelines. In the grasp of Emmanuel Acho, Jones batted the ball. UT linebacker Jared Norton raced to recover the bouncing ball but it trickled out of bounds.
"I thought we were going to pick it up and run it in for a touchdown," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "I was thinking about the 2-point play. (The ball) just sat there and sat there. Like the rest of the day it rolled out of bounds."
BOTCHED FAKE FIELD GOAL
Leading 28-17 with less than seven minutes to play, OU lined up for a 42-yard field goal. It turned into a 47-yard attempt following a false start penalty. The Sooners all along were planning to run a fake field goal.
"Our guys played it really well," Brown said. "I think it was the Michigan State play (in overtime against Notre Dame) where he stands up and throws it to the tight end down the middle. But he was covered. It didn't look as good as Michigan State. It looked good to me but I'm sure it didn't look as good to Bob (Stoops)."
Texas' sacked holder John Nimmo, a scout team quarterback, for a 13-yard loss. The Longhorns, though, failed to capitalize. Tom Wort's sack on first down keyed a three-and-out, forcing Texas to punt.
"The breeze was against us. I felt to me it picked up a little bit so I figured, 'Hey, why not give it a go,'" Stoops said. "I didn't plan on losing 12 yards. I thought he'd throw the ball away or try for an interference call... Fortunately the defense got us out of looking so bad."
UT DEFENSIVE PENALTIES COSTLY
Three times Texas appeared to have the Sooners stopped in the first half only to have costly third-down penalties keep two OU touchdown drives alive. It set a trend that defined the game.
On the third play of the game, OU faced third-and-12. Jones threw the ball away but Kennan Robinson's personal foul penalty gave the Sooners a first down. Later in the drive, a Kheeston Randall defensive holding penalty, also on third down, kept the drive alive. OU took advantage, marching 83 yards in 13 plays.
In the second quarter, another costly third-down penalty kept alive another OU touchdown drive when Chykie Brown was whistled for a questionable pass interference penalty. The Sooners again cashed in to lead 21-7 at halftime.
"Third-down penalties just kill momentum and field position," said Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. "I just want to watch film and see (what happened). I need to watch the film."
Years from now the most memorable penalty from the 2010 game might be an offsides penalty midway through the third quarter that wiped out a turnover after the Longhorns sacked Jones, forcing a fumble they recovered.
The final defensive blunder set up an OU fourth-quarter touchdown drive that gave the Sooners a three-possession lead. Long after the play was over, Texas defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat was whistled for a late-hit on offensive tackle Donald Stephenson.
COLVIN SOLID IN FIRST START
True freshman cornerback Aaron Colvin made his first career start. Jamell Fleming suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter last week against Cincinnati and didn't practice all week. After playing the entire second half against Cincinnati, Colvin's first career start was in the Cotton Bowl.
"I'm just blessed to be in that position, to play in this game, let alone play the whole game and start," Colvin said. "I wasn't happy about that play late in the game but this is a great learning experience. Now I feel I can play with anybody."
Texas attacked Colvin deep a couple of times early in the game but he had solid coverage both times. The only time he was burned was a 40-yard completion to Malcolm Williams in the final minutes.
"He had an outstanding game, you kidding me," Venables said. "He did a terrific job. He made some tackles in half-field coverage. He really responded well. His maturity is beyond his years."
WORT REBOUNDS, PLAYS WELL
Singled out for some of the Sooners' problems giving up big plays over the middle in non-conference play, Wort, OU's redshirt freshman middle linebacker, played his best game. Wort recorded 10 tackles, two for losses, including a key sack in the fourth quarter.
"He's a deep person," Venables said. "He's very emotional. He felt he let people down. I tried to give him a circle-the-wagon attitude. It's about us and you-against-the-world."
BEAL SECOND IN CAREER SACKS
Senior defensive end Jeremy Beal collected two more sacks to run his career total to 26 1/2, moving into second in school history ahead of Dan Cody. Beal is five sacks behind OU record holder Cedric Jones.
"When he was out of his gap on a play a week ago it was like, 'Did that just happen? What's going on?'" Venables said. "I'm so happy for him. What a great example and legacy he leaves for so many guys. He even teaches us as coaches to sometimes don't judge a book by its cover. He's been a terrific player."
BROYLES 100-YARD STREAK ENDS
Facing bracket coverage much of the game, Ryan Broyles was held to five catches for 36 yards with a long of 13 yards, ending a streak of seven consecutive 100-yard games. The Sooners compensated with Kenny Stills (five catches, 78 yards) and Dejuan Miller (five catches, 61 yards) making big plays against man-to-man coverage.
O-LINE HAS LESS ROTATION
After alternating eight offensive linemen in non-conference play the Sooners didn't rotate nearly as much against the Longhorns. The only rotation was Gabe Ikard sharing time with Stephen Good at left guard.
Center Ben Habern played all 15 offensive series. The biggest change was Tyler Evans played every series at right guard. Stephenson and Eric Mensik played most series at the two tackle spots, spelled a couple of times by Jarvis Jones.
"I don't know why it was that way"," said offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson. "Maybe (offensive line coach) James (Patton) liked the way certain guys were playing. It wasn't like anyone practiced poorly or played poorly. I feel we have eight starters on the line."
THIS TIME WINCHESTER RECOVERS FUMBLE
Deep snapper James Winchester recovered a muffed punt late in the game to preserve the win. Last week Winchester was credited with a fumble recovery even though it was James Hanna who actually recovered a muffed punt at Cincinnati.
"I asked him, 'Was that you this time?'" Stoops said.
Winchester said: "I made sure I got it clean today. There wasn't any having to try and figure out who got it."
The Sooners ran 30 more plays than Texas the first half, OU running 57 plays, Texas 27... Wide receiver Dejuan Miller left midway through the third quarter with an ankle injury and did not return... OU has outscored opponents 63-20 in the first quarter. The only time the Sooners have trailed all season was 3-0 at Cincinnati... Fullback Trey Millard has played a lot but officially made his first career start... Senior defensive end Pryce Macon also made his first career start... True freshman Mike Davis, arguably Texas' best wide receiver, didn't suit up after suffering an ankle injury last week against UCLA... Two planes on the pre-game flyover barely cleared the radio/cell tower on the east side of the Cotton Bowl.
STATE FAIR MIDWAY ALWAYS EVENTFUL
About an hour before kickoff, some Texas fans taunted OU fans, chanting "Three in a Row!" predicting a win after winning in 2008 and 2009. Sooner fans retaliated with chants of "U-C-L-A" which ended the taunting.
The best outfit of the day went to a Longhorn fan painted her face like she was the rock band kiss, painting a black longhorn over one eye, a black version of the state of Texas over the other eye.
The most original OU t-shirt was: "Everything is crappier in Texas." Another good one was "Burnt orange? Why would you want anything that's burnt?"
Here's a tip for those who attend the annual Red River Rivarly game. If you want fried alligator, a corny dog, turkey leg, taffy or funnel cake, fans had to stand in long lines to purchase State Fair coupons. When one fan said he spent 30 minutes in the coupon line an OU fan quipped: "That's why I always buy mine online."
WHAT ABOUT MY BANANA?
Fans that play Midway carnival games face a no-win situation. Even if you win you face a dilemma like Chris Granger, 28, of Austin. Granger, a Texas fan, won a five-foot tall banana at the baseball toss booth.
"I'm going to try to take it into the game," Granger said. "I hope they don't make me buy my banana a ticket, too."