DALLAS — Oklahoma soundly thrashed Texas 63-21 on Saturday, marking the second straight season OU has left the Cotton Bowl in early October with a convincing Red River Rivalry victory.
But the Sooners’ (4-1, 2-1 in Big 12 play) rout Saturday was more reminiscent of blowout Texas wins from the early 2000s — Oklahoma won the national title months after beating Texas, 63-14, in 2000, and played in the championship game three seasons later, when the Sooners beat the Longhorns, 65-13.
“Well it certainly ranks up there with 63-14 and the 65-13; it’s in the same ballpark,” Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. “Those are pretty special ones and this is definitely right there with them.”
The Sooners came out firing on all cylinders Saturday, when they marched their opening drive down the field and scored on an 8-yard Blake Bell touchdown run. Texas recovered a botched snap and ran the extra-point attempt back for two points — its only scoring play and, really, highlight of the entire first half.
After junior running back Damien Williams burst free for a 95-yard touchdown, which gave OU a 13-2 lead in the first quarter, the rout was on.
The Sooners racked up 407 yards in the first half to Texas’ 65. Oklahoma picked up 17 first downs before halftime and allowed Texas only two — both of which were immediately followed by interceptions of Longhorns quarterback David Ash.
“We don’t want anything to be caught or ran or be scored on us,” said junior cornerback Aaron Colvin. “We take pride in our defense.
“Regardless of what any other Big 12 team is doing or what Big 12 offenses are doing to Big 12 defenses, we don’t want any of that to happen to us.”
Speaking of other Big 12 teams, No. 5 West Virginia, widely considered the class of the conference, was blasted 49-14 Saturday at Texas Tech, where Oklahoma left a convincing winner just a week ago.
The first BCS Standings — the ranking system used to determine January’s national championship matchup — are scheduled to be released Sunday, and the Sooners are sure to be in the top 10.
Kansas State, which handed the Sooners their only loss of the season weeks ago, remains the Big 12’s lone unbeaten, but got all it wanted from Iowa State on Saturday.
With the strength of Oklahoma’s remaining schedule — after next Saturday’s home game against Kansas, the conference’s last-place team, OU hosts undefeated Notre Dame — the Sooners are still alive in the national championship race, which seemed like a pipe dream after the KSU loss.
“Everybody likes to project too much,” Stoops said. “We’re 4-1. All we’ve gotta do is keep making corrections and be better against Kansas and keep taking it down the road. I don’t want to look to the end.”