DALLAS – Tailback Malcolm Brown, one of the few Texas bright spots on this status-defining Saturday, sped around left end and collided with OU cornerback Jamell Fleming.
Fleming, the least-physical defender in the Sooner lineup, grabbed the freshman phenom and went all WWE on Brown. Lifted him up and slammed him down.
Brown held onto the ball. Call it a moral victory for the Longhorns.
The Sooners bullied Texas 55-17 at the Cotton Bowl, taking their lunch money and, five times, their football. OU takeaways made this a runaway and served notice that not only should the pollsters remember the Sooners when filling in that No. 1 line, this ancient series is back firmly in Oklahoma control.
“When their defense comes and hits you in the mouth, you have to answer back and respond,” said UT tailback Fozzy Whittaker.
The Longhorns didn't have the biceps to hit back. 2010 was supposed to be the Texas rebuilding year. But the disparity in these programs has only grown from last season.
“The rivalry, I can't wait until the next one,” said OU tailback Dom Whaley, who sprinted 64 yards for a third-quarter touchdown.
Neither can anyone in crimson. Who knows what the Big 12 will look like next season? Who knows what the Big 12 standings will look like come December?
But this we know. Texas will be looking up at Oklahoma in both circumstances, even if Landry Jones turns pro and the Sooners have to break in a new quarterback.
“Great win,” Bob Stoops said after a third blowout of the ‘Horns, to go with 63-14 and 65-13 thumpings in 2000 and 2003, respectively. “To come down here in that situation and to win like that is really special.”
The Sooners swarmed Texas quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash, setting a flurry of defensive records, topped by the eight sacks and three defensive touchdowns.
The latter TD came from Hulk Hogan Himself. Texas flanker Mike Davis caught a short pass from Ash (another moral victory), Fleming arrived and, instead of assault, decided to steal. Fleming stripped the ball from Davis' hands, grabbed it with a juggle and sprinted 56 yards for a touchdown.
“To me, there is nothing more fun than a defensive touchdown,” Stoops said.
That was the fifth and final OU takeaway, to go with Casey Walker's sack of McCoy, a fumble recovered by Frank Alexander; Tony Jefferson and Demontre Hurst interceptions of Ash passes, the latter returned 57 yards for a TD; and an Alexander sack of McCoy, a fumble recovered by David King and returned 19 yards for a touchdown.
“Everybody gets jacked up when we get turnovers and big plays,” Fleming said. “Gives us a little edge and momentum. A lot of swag.”
Swag. That's what those early-Stoops routs of Texas provided, and that's what this one figures to provide, too.
The Sooners came in jacked up and left sky high. New hurdles keep popping up – that Oct. 29 game at Kansas State now seems like a briar patch – but this game will embolden a team that already looked championship-caliber.
“It's natural in this game,” Stoops said of exalted emotion. “But when you're having success … it's blood in the water. They want more of it.”
The Sooner defense did what a dominant defense should do against shaky quarterbacking. Attack, attack, attack.
D-coordinator Brent Venables said his unit “played with great purpose and focus. Kind of a perfect storm.” The defensive front, sometimes in a traditional 4-3, sometimes with four defensive ends to chase UT's happy-feet quarterbacks, created a new line of scrimmage, pushing the ‘Horns back.
“We've got some athletic guys that want the football,” Venables said. “They're instinctive. Some guys are ball magnets. Some aren't. We've got a group of guys that are. It can be a snowball effect. Everybody wants a piece of the action.
“That's important when you talk about the LSUs and Alabamas. Their back four guys, back five, are a bunch of creatures. Godzillas that seem to take up the whole field.”
That's what Fleming and Hurst and Jefferson and Aaron Colvin seemed to do Saturday. When your defensive line is physical, and your defensive backs are as physical as your line, you've got a defense.
That's what the Sooners had Saturday, when they reminded the pollster why they were No. 1 in the first place and reminded Texas who really owns this conference.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.