This is not going to suck. There are times where putting together a post like this isn't the most enjoyable way to spend several hours of your Sunday.
This is not one of those times.
In fact, as I'm about to hit play this will already be my fourth viewing of the glorious smackdown we all witnessed Saturday. The fourth of what I can assure you will be many, many more viewings. Come along with me for this one, won't you ...
A quick aside before we get this started. I was unfortunate enough to live in a part of the country where ABC deemed it necessary to switch from the OU game to show me Texas Tech vs. West Virginia. After talking myself down from booking a redeye flight to Connecticut and unleashing hell on the ESPN offices, I was forced to frantically search for a replay of the game after being forced to miss the better part of the fourth quarter.
In what can only be described as one of life's great ironies, I remembered that I, a diehard OU fan, am one of the select few who has access to the Longhorn Network. So after perusing my cable guide, I found that Texas' propaganda machine would be replaying the game, in its entirety, countless times over the coming days. If that doesn't rake in the ratings I don't know what will, but back to my point. So as an added bonus to my recording of the game, I wound up overlapped with some of the network's pre and post game coverage.
Nothing could ever be sweeter than what we watched on the field, but I'm here to tell you watching these guys preview (of course having knowledge of what actually happened) then review the game was a pretty close second. The use of "we" was used VERY liberally and even on this day there would be no sunshine to be pumped no matter how hard they searched. And believe me, they searched.
Anyway, wasn't trying to get us off track but I had to share that. Okay, here we go.
* Very first play of the game and we see a new wrinkle. Aaron Ripkowski lines up split out wide, then comes in motion just prior to the snap in move designed to have him peel back on his block of the Texas defensive end. Rip doesn't get the block he would have liked actually bumping Okafor into Gabe Ikard who was pulling around from his center position on the play. Unfortunately, this leaves UT's Steve Edmond unblocked and he tackles Damien Williams after a two yard gain on what could have been a much bigger gain. Not a huge deal, but it shows you how even a little things like that can cause a play to be unsuccessful.
* OU immediately facing a 3rd and 8 and if there was ever a time in this game the Texas defensive ends would worry you it's on this play. And as a sign of what's to come the OU tackles do a perfect job of rendering both helpless. Landry is given a perfect pocket from which to throw and he finds Trey Metoyer for the first of many OU third down conversions.
* 1st Q, 13:20 - 2nd and 11 for OU from the UT 49. This draw play to Trey Millard is just a fantastic individual effort. Lane Johnson is beaten badly (one of the very few times that happened in this game) to the inside by Jeffcoat who looks to be in perfect position to stuff Millard. Trey, however, will be having none of that. He make a little jump cut to his left and bounces the play outside turning a play that looked like it could have gone for a loss of several yards into a nine yard gain.
* Blake Bell comes into to convert the 3rd and 1, then stays in for the following first down play as well. Another new wrinkle and one that wasn't overly successful, but it's nice to see Josh Heupel mixing things up. Still would like to see Bell throw from these formations, but today is certainly not the time to be criticizing Heupel. Moving on.
* I'm definitely not going to go so far as to say the Texas players were faking injuries, but let's just say more than a couple of them seemed awfully convenient (with Brandon Moore's being the very obvious exception & thank goodness he was okay). I'll leave it at that.
* I can't say Justin Brown was in beast mode because he was on the same field as Trey Millard and Damien Williams, so I'll simply say he will haunt Quandre Diggs' dreams from now until eternity.
* It's hard to really put into words just how good Damien Williams has been. I don't just mean in this game because we're only at the eleven minute mark, more so what we've seen from him all year and what we'll see later in this game. His hesitation moves are so subtle and quick, he doesn't lose even a split second of speed and yet guys are tripping over themselves trying to make the tackle. And guys just bounce and/or slide off of him so easily, it's ridiculous.
* This sequence on the opening drive where Oklahoma has to burn timeouts was certainly not their finest moment. It proved to be irrelevant of course, but at the time I'm sure I couldn't have been the only OU fan screaming at my television.
* 1st Q, 10:16 - 3rd and 9 for OU from the UT 19. Landry throws a screen to Millard. I've read a number of people say how great a play call this and it was, but what I haven't seen anyone point out is this. Landry appears to still be making his call when Ikard snaps him the ball prematurely. He's lucky not to drop the ball and even more to his credit, in the past, it's these kind of plays where we've seen him freak out. Instead, here he is calm even in the face of pressure from Jeffcoat. What makes this such a great call though is both Landry's play and that Millard initially chips on Jeffcoat before leaking out and finding himself wide open.
The only negative on this play (if you can even call it that) is Millard winds up just short of the first down forcing OU to convert a 4th and 1 (which they of course do). A call it a negative though because the only thing between Millard and a first down is UT's Carrington Byndom, who is giving up several inches and about 50 pounds. You'd like to see Millard simply lower his shoulder and power through for the first down (something we're about to see in a couple plays), but again we're nitpicking here.
* 1st Q, 8:58 - 1st and goal for OU from the UT 8. This is both a well blocked play by OU, which is aided by a horribly called run blitz (theme of the day/season for Texas) from the Horns defense. Bell, still in after converting the fourth and one, takes the play wide right and finds himself one-on-one with 180 pound Texas safety, Mykkele Thompson. Unlike Millard from the play we were previously describing, Bell recognizes his advantage and simply lowers his shoulder thus bowling over Thompson who Bell is kind enough to bring alone for the ride into the end zone.
Texas of course goes on to block the PAT after a botched hold from Tress Way, then celebrate as if they'd just won the national championship. Oh, hindsight is such a glorious thing. Side note - I'd bet you a majority of the Texas fans in attendance were absolutely convinced they'd just tied the game on that play. They're not very smart is what I'm getting at. 6-2 OU
* Not sure what happened with Patrick O'Hara in this game, but unless I'm mistaken Michael Hunnicutt handled every kickoff. Not a huge deal necessarily, just something that I noticed.
* 1st Q, 8:39 - 2nd and 10 for UT from their own 29. OU's first defensive series and this is a perfect play to describe just how different this OU defense is under Mike Stoops. Here, Tony Jefferson is deep at safety eleven yards off the ball at the snap. Texas runs a zone read which Ash appears to do horribly as he fails to allows the running back to take the ball, leaving himself face-to-face with an unblocked Chuka Ndulue. To his credit, he has enough athleticism to initially get away from Ndulue and scramble to his left.
However, that blur from the left side of my television screen is the aforementioned Jefferson who closes that eleven yard distance in the blink of an eye and tackles Ash for a four yard loss. There is no confusion here despite Jefferson initially being in deep coverage. He made a read, a read that he was confident in, and attacked the quarterback. I cannot stress enough just how high a level Mike Stoops has this defense playing at.
* Side note - So, on the broadcast they are introducing Texas' "impact players" and Brad Nessler delivers this line "Jonathan Gray, I just have a feeling he's going to have a break out game." Not so much, Brad. Not so much.
* R.J. Washington hits Ash just as he's releasing the ball on 3rd and 14 in what would be the first of four consecutive three and outs from the OU defense to open this game.
* Running a three yard crossing route on a 3rd and 5 is something I feel like Oklahoma used to do, right? Here Texas does and Julian Wilson has blanket coverage on Jaxon Shipley, easily tackling him two yards short of the first down. Another OU stop.
* 1st Q, 4:25 - 2nd and 10 for OU from their own 5. Damien Williams houses it. Now I could easily sit here and describe for you Williams' beautiful upcoming 95-yard touchdown run, but wouldn't it be more enjoyable for you to hear it from the Texas perspective? I know it was for me, so I'll quote from our friend Peter, he of Burnt Orange Nation, and his fantastic Post-Game React, Part 1:
Today was the most painful yet, and you know you've got a dark sense of humor if like me you laughed watching Damien Williams 95-yard touchdown run, which hilariously captured each component of our defensive fail machine in one play: (1) Manny Diaz sent Kenny Vaccaro on a kamikaze mission with a dreadfully conceived run blitz; (2) Demarco Cobbs ran directly to the nearest Sooner blocker, politely asked to be engaged for a few moments while Mr. Williams ran by, left a thank you note and crumpet, and then provided the rear escort for Mr. Williams on his sprint to the end zone; (3) the safety -- Myke Thompson in this case -- ran up to make the tackle, made sure he had his weight on his heels as the ball carrier arrived, and promptly got juked out of his jock to set up a perfectly executed useless arm tackle; and (4) Quandre Diggs, upon seeing Thompson sprinting up to cut off the ball carrier, relaxed for a half of a second, presuming the play was handled, only to find that it wasn't... and that his letting up now put him a step behind Williams. Touchdown.
Couldn't have done a better job myself. However, Peter does fail to point out many OU fans second favorite part of that play, which was the crushing block on Diggs by legendary Red River blocker, Kenny Stills. I've seen some say that Williams still scores even without that block, but I definitely do not agree with that assessment. Credit to Stills for coming a long way across to field to (1) ensure Williams scores and (2) cement his 'legend' status in Red River lore. 13-2 OU
* I definitely think the refs made the right call on that Gray non-fumble, but it seemed at the time to take away from a solid stop on the part of Tom Wort and third straight three and out. Wort certainly has his critics and to be fair he's unblocked on this play, but he still squared up and stopped Gray short of the first down. Wort played well on Saturday and whether that was in response to what happened in Lubbock or not, it was nice to see him have a quality game in Dallas.
* Side note - The non-call on Justin Brown's punt return where he was hit a good two yards out of bounds, only to later call OU for a hit on Marquise Goodwin (who is clearly a graduate of the Colt McCoy School of Sideline Acting) was beyond atrocious.
* I don't blame opposing defenders for going low on Millard, but how many times does he have to embarrass guys with his now signature hurdle move before they learn? Hopefully never, my friends.
* In my opinion, this guy is not getting the credit he deserves. Brennan Clay is putting together a really nice season.
* Hey, did you know you can watch the Longhorn football players lift weights on the Longhorn Network? How are people not demanding access to this network?!?
* Oklahoma wide receivers flat out abused the Texas secondary for the second consecutive year. That is all.
* 2nd Q, 14:34 - Williams just abused Steve Edmond on a stutter step that left him flailing at air. Wow. Adding insult, Broson Irwin comes over to plant an off-balance Edmond into the turf. LOVE the mean streak Irwin plays with!
* OU knows Blake Bell is running right. Texas knows Blake Bell is running right. First down. Manny Diaz is a joke.
* 2nd Q, 12:44 - 1st and goal OU from the UT half yard line. Again in the Belldozer, again Bell goes right. Millard gets a devastating cut block on a helpless Texas defender and Bell shrugs off Thompson who is trying to make an ankle on a 260 pound man-child. 20-2 OU
* 2nd Q, 12:33 - You don't see defensive tackles deliver big hits all that often, it's just not the nature of the position. However, Jamarkus McFarland just introduced Jonathan Gray to big-boy, Red River football.
* Have to give David Ash credit for repeatedly in this game escaping what looked like sure fire sacks by the OU defense. He got very little help in this game, but it was abundantly clear the kid never quit. Which certainly cannot be said for a number of his teammates.
* 2nd Q, 11:29 - 1st and 10 OU from their own 23. Words cannot describe the beauty of this play. It's such a perfect call, perfectly designed, perfectly executed play all made even more perfect (did I use it enough?) by the fact that there is no other player in the country like Trey Millard. His 'jump-truck', as many here (h/t Kratos) have taken to calling it, will be something our grandkids tell their grandkids about. It. Was. Amazing.
Side note - An added bonus on the play, the bonus trucking of Case McCoy by unnamed referee as he's sprinting down the sideline. Hilarious.
* Bell punches it in, over the right side no less, for this third score of the day. 27-3 OU
* A great punt from Tress Way followed by an equally great play from Justin Brown pins the Horns on their own one yard line with the OU defense coming to get their two points back.
This Oklahoma defense stuffing Joe Beregon, who is a monster, for the safety with Texas in a jumbo package was just as incredible to watch on the replay as it was live. This defense was pissed off and they wanted those two points back, so they went and got 'em.
Interesting to note, Jaydan Bird was in on this play at linebacker and actually made the initial stop. Hello, Mr. Two Way Football. 29-2 OU
* The holes this OU offensive line are opening are MASSIVE. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined them dominating Texas up front like this.
However we've said all along, despite the comments from those outside the program who clearly never knew what they were talking about, this starting five is quality. They showed the CFB world on Saturday.
* After yet another first down run from Damien Williams, the cameras catch two former Sooner greats - Mark Clayton & The Real Roy Williams - cheering him on as he makes his way back onto the field. I don't know why I love this moment so much, but I do.
* Another Texas "injury" simply delaying the inevitable, another touchdown for Bell who is initially stopped but fights his way across the goal line for No. 4 on the day. 36-2 OU
* 2nd Q, 1:29 - Brennan Clay wants to get in on this party. With the carry off left tackle, gets an absolutely fantastic block from Lane Johnson, and destroys UT's Kendall Thompson for a 12 yard gain. Great run, so great in fact Thompson is "injured" on the play. It's okay, son. Just go put some ice on that pride of yours, it'll be alright.
* I don't know if that grounding call on Ash, where he threw it down field to no one, is actually the right call, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. Well, that and of course Mack's reaction to it causing his moobs to flop and flail all over the place.
We're at halftime, OU with a 36-2 lead, and that was about as dominant a half of Oklahoma football as I've seen in a long, long time. Damn, that was sweet.
Second half will post soon.