By Schuyler Dixon
DALLAS: Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell went from touchdowns to turnovers and sacks against Texas.
A year after getting four scores as the short-yardage master in a blowout win over the Longhorns, Bell threw two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and had minus-27 yards rushing in No. 12 Oklahoma’s 36-20 loss to Texas on Saturday.
“We didn’t play well as an offense. It’s as simple as that,” said Bell, who was sacked four times in his first start against Texas. “Obviously, you can’t turn the ball over in a rivalry game like this. That’s big.”
So was this win for Mack Brown, who stood with his players in front of the Texas band cherishing a victory in the Red River Rivalry.
After the coach accepted the Golden Hat trophy that came with the win, Case McCoy and these Texas seniors especially enjoyed passing around the prize and taking turns putting it atop their heads.
“I didn’t think I was very emotional at all. I thought I did a great, great job,” Brown said. “Besides that, you all wanted me to be more emotional than I was in the past. I had 97 cameras in my face. ... I thought I was appropriately really happy.”
McCoy threw two touchdowns, 295-pound defensive tackle Chris Whaley took back Bell’s first 31 yards for a score and the Longhorns (4-2, 3-0 Big 12) ended Oklahoma’s three-game winning streak in the rivalry to give Brown at least a temporary reprieve from all the gloomy talk about his future with the Longhorns.
Brown insisted this victory was special for what it was — finally a win for this senior group over Oklahoma, a 3-0 start in Big 12 play and the possibility of a league title and BCS game still in their future.
“You shouldn’t leave this school without beating Oklahoma. You need to do that,” Brown said. “This thing goes in streaks. And I guess we’ve won five of the last nine now. For you that’s counting.”
As for those speculating about his future, Brown insists that he does his best to ignore that. So do his players.
“It’s wasn’t something we talked about,” said Jackson Jeffcoat, the senior defensive end who had two sacks. “We know every game is important for coach Brown.”
The 154 wins for Brown in his 16 seasons at Texas are second most in school history behind Darrell Royal. They match coach Bob Stoops’ win total in 15 seasons with the Sooners. The head-to-head record for the only active Big 12 coaches who have won national championships is Stoops 9, Brown 6.
Texas, a two-touchdown underdog, never trailed after the impressive rumble late in the first quarter by converted running back Whaley and went on to a double-digit win of its own. There was also an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown by Daje Johnson in the third quarter after Oklahoma had gotten within 23-13.
The Sooners (5-1, 2-1) had won the last two games in the series by a combined score of 118-38, but came out with their 10-game Big 12 winning streak snapped.
“Those are always difference makers in this game. And they were a big part of the game today,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Texas’ first two nonoffensive touchdowns this season. “They made some big pass plays that were big plays in the game, and we didn’t have hardly any big plays that way offensively. In each part of the game I thought they outplayed us.”
Texas had two 100-yard rushers in Johnathan Gray (29 carries for 123 yards) and Malcolm Brown (23 carries for 120 yards).