No. 12 Oklahoma edged Texas, winning 29-24 at the Cotton Bowl. Here are three takeaways from Saturday:
It’s a win, which was the most important thing after that stunning loss a week earlier to Iowa State. And beating your biggest rival is never a bad thing. But a disturbing trend has developed for Oklahoma in Big 12 play. The Sooners start fast but then can’t quite put away an opponent. Oklahoma jumped to a 20-0 lead — but despite a massive edge in offensive production, they kept settling for field goals, and Texas climbed back into it.
Oklahoma had just enough to win Saturday. Trailing 24-23 in the fourth quarter, Baker Mayfield hit tight end Mark Andrews for a 59-yard touchdown to retake the lead, and the Sooners held on. But better opponents await, and the trend just might be a trait that cripples the Sooners’ hopes of a conference title and maybe more.
Texas freshman QB is someone to build around
In freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger — who started, as expected, never mind coach Tom Herman’s coyness all week — the Longhorns have found someone to build around. Ehlinger is not a precision passer, but he’s big (6-2, 230 pounds) and able as a runner, providing a dual threat.
A 42-yard connection with Devin Duvernay was the lone long pass he completed, but he did enough with intermediate passes — often to running backs — to get the Longhorns moving. Ehlinger left the game in the fourth quarter after his head hit the ground during a tackle, but returned a couple of plays later.
The Sooners' defense looked better this week than last
Oklahoma’s defense, which had struggled against Baylor and Iowa State, was better Saturday. Texas is limited offensively. But the Sooners’ defense stuffed the run, and the secondary was much better for most of the day in pass coverage.
When Texas had momentum in the fourth quarter, the Sooners stiffened and forced a turnover on downs, preserving the win. An area of concern: Penalties, which extended several Texas possessions and led to points.