Oklahoma downed Texas 20-7 Friday night on the eve of the nationally-televised Red River Rivalry gridiron game.
The start of the match would prove an indicator of the rest of the night, as Sooner senior Joe Bach leveled his counterpart from the Longhorns on the opening kickoff to set the tone for more big hits early on. It took both offenses time to get going against tough pressure from both defenses.
“We knew this was going to be a hard hitting and emotional game. I told the guys to just keep our composure and keep putting pressure on them until we found an opening,” Oklahoma captain Mike Lair said.
The Sooners persistence paid off when Senior Zac Givens found a gap through which he scored the game’s first try, unconverted. Texas made several journeys into the OU end but were rebuffed much of the first half with big hits.
One such stop about one meter from the OU defensive line not only prevented a Longhorn try, but created a Sooner score, as Bach scooped up a loose ball and ran past most of the Texas side before offloading to junior wing Brad Henry in support. Henry dotted down the try. This time Givens slotted the extra point to put OU up 12-0, the lead they'd carry into halftime.
“We felt good at the half but really knew that we needed to do a better job protecting the ball and not giving away the possession once inside their end. Tyson (Meek) encouraged the backs to be more patient when we made it into their territory,” said OU coach Kenny Forehand.
“It is tough in big games like this one, with all the emotion, to wait for your opportunities. Hopefully we use this opportunity to get better at that aspect of our game.”
Texas managed one score on the night through persistent efforts, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.
For winning, Oklahoma retains “the Skull”, a longhorn cranium painted in Native American designs that acts as a traveling trophy.
Oklahoma and Texas are scheduled to compete in a national qualifying 7s tournament Saturday in Norman, Okla. with several teams from the tradtitional Big XII Conference.