DALLAS -- The result of this year’s Red River Showdown -- Oklahoma 45, Texas 40 -- does precisely what we expect from rivalries of this magnitude: Oklahoma further saved its season and further spoiled Texas'.
A Texas team whose defense is still in serious disarray attempted to engage the Sooners in a second-half shootout. Baker Mayfield, Samaje Perine and Dede Westbrook reminded everyone they’re the wrong guys to mess with in a scoring fest.
Mayfield threw for 390 yards, Perine rumbled for 214, and Westbrook broke OU’s single-game receiving record with 232 yards to help break a Longhorns team that’s now on a three-game losing streak and making Charlie Strong’s job harder and harder every week.
Strong’s hot-seat status might continue to dominate headlines after this one, but let’s not overlook how much the Sooners needed this one. They had revenge on their minds, not just for the 23-17 upset loss to Texas a year ago but for the 1-2 start that bounced them out of the College Football Playoff hunt.
They’ve answered their early-season failings with 52 points against TCU, 45 against Texas and the kind of blistering start to Big 12 play that suggests they’re still more than capable of winning back-to-back conference titles. They were written off after Ohio State blew them out, but the story of their season is far from over.
As for Texas’ season, well, it seems the writing is on the wall now. Strong’s bosses say there’s no “magic number” for how many games he must win this season to save his job. But he will need a ton of magic now and must now go 6-1 or 5-2 the rest of the way to finish the regular season with a winning record.
It’s hard to see that kind of a run coming from a team that was given four turnovers from the Sooners on Saturday and turned them into a grand total of three points. Too many chances, too many missed opportunities.
When the Sooners finished off Texas by stopping its last-second desperation lateral play, coach Bob Stoops did not celebrate like Strong did a year ago with a Gatorade bath and crowd surf. He shook Strong’s hand, did his TV interview and walked off to collect his Golden Hat.
No need to celebrate now; the Sooners still have a long season ahead. They helped ensure this will be a long year for the Longhorns, too.