DALLAS — It was a sight not often seen here, a sporting phenomenon of sorts inside the old Cotton Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
To the left of the 50-yard line, a few Texas fans remained. But the sun's shine off the silver bleachers was far more prevalent than burnt orange. The idea of a corndog and a fried something-or-another at the adjacent state fair sounded much more appealing than continuing to watch the pounding their team was taking.
To the right, every Oklahoma fan was in stationed at their seat - all 48,000 of them. They weren't going to miss this for the world.
A blowout in the Red River Rivalry — a 55-17 victory for the No. 3 Sooners against the 11th-ranked Longhorns — created what seemed like an optimal illusion, with the stadium equally halved into emptying and full.
Sooners rover Tony Jefferson, who had one of five takeaways, helped plant the OU flag at midfield after the game as UT, moping, shuffled to the locker room.
“It doesn't get any better than this,” Oklahoma senior receiver Ryan Broyles said. “This game's usually competitive. It usually goes to the fourth quarter. This one didn't and that's all right with me.”
The Longhorns were 4-0 and had gone from unranked to knocking on the Top 10's door. Feelings of their renewal and resurgence, at least for now, were perhaps overstated for youthful UT.
“I was disappointed that we didn't live up to our side of the match,” Texas' Mack Brown said. “This is one of the greatest games in college football … and we didn't live up to our side of it.”
While Red River routs have been rare, Stoops' knack for notching them is getting trendy. Fifty-five to 17 will look nice on the resume, along with 63-14 against the Horns in 2000 and 65-13 in 2003.
Those OU teams played for national titles. The 2011 team looks capable at times, Saturday serving as the best illustration so far this fall.
“I can see why they're the No. 1 team in the country,” said Brown, referring to the coaches' poll, where the Sooners have stayed at the top.
In the AP rankings, OU (5-0) had dropped a spot each of the past two weeks, despite winning. Stoops said voters were right to move Alabama and LSU ahead of the Sooners, based on impressive victories by those SEC teams. But he's asking for the same treatment, given the nature of the win here Saturday.
“I'm sure we'll be rewarded for playing a game like this today,” Stoops said. “We're in good shape. We've got to take care of our business.”
How does a game get out of hand? Of those five Texas turnovers, three went for Oklahoma touchdowns. An alternate final score could have read: Sooners D 21, Texas 17.
“I don't think I've ever been part of a team that has outscored the opposing offense,” OU end Ronnell Lewis said. “It was kind of fun to be a part of something like that.
“Seeing that scoreboard light up and hearing those guns go off all the time … it felt pretty good.”
When the Sooners offense had the ball, it moved efficiently. Landry Jones “played like a Heisman Trophy winner,” Brown said after the junior quarterback's 31-for-50, 367-yard, three-touchdown, zero-turnover afternoon. Broyles caught nine passes for 122 yards and a score, moving three catches from the NCAA's all-time receptions record.
The only OU turnover came in the final minutes, when freshman running back Brandon Williams put the ball on the turf.
“That's the best that they've played us,” UT running back Fozzy Whittaker said. “It's one of those things where you just have to stand back and give them credit for doing what they do best.”
Perhaps most alarming for the Horns? This could have been worse - way worse. OU kicked 24- and 26-yard field goals, punted once at the Texas 34 and went for it on fourth down at the UT 33.
No disrespect to Texas, the Sooners said, but they thought they were better. More experience and more speed led to more points.
“We could see it on film,” Broyles said. “We knew they were undefeated, and they'd had good games, but we believe we've got great athletes. We thought the matchups were there for us to do what we did.”
Statistically coloring the picture of OU's dominance Saturday:
(bullet) In building a 34-10 halftime lead, the Sooners ran 34 plays on Texas' end of the field. The Longhorns ran a total of 32 plays in the first half.
(bullet) OU had a school-record 17 tackles for loss and tied a school record with eight sacks. Texas lost 117 yards.
(bullet) The Sooners finished with 130 return yards on their three defensive touchdowns of 55, 19 and 56 yards.
Plenty of moments summed up the one-sided day, but a subtle one was the Sooners converting on third-and-25 in UT territory early in the second quarter. Two plays later, they were in the end zone to push the lead to 20-3.
“I don't think there's one play that says it's your day,” OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “There's a lot that goes into having a day like this.”