Stephen C. Smith Sr.
Times Record News
In what was billed as an offensive shootout, it was Oklahoma’s defense that left its indelible mark on the 68th Oil Bowl Football Classic in a dominating 38-7 win Saturday night in front of 8,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.
When you consider that Texas’ longest play from scrimmage all night was actually on Shon Brown’s 20-yard return of a fourth-quarter fumble recovery, it should provide all the insight anyone could need.
The 31-point winning margin is the largest in Oil Bowl history, surpassing Oklahoma’s 41-13 win in 1999.
“Last year, Texas came out and whipped up on us pretty good,” Felix Jones said. “I just appreciated the way my teammates came out and played to best of their abilities.”
Oklahoma defensive lineman Michael Cowen was named defensive most valuable player with 2.5 tackles, a fumble recovery and a sack.
“I thought our defense would be pretty good,” Oklahoma coach Don Hendrix said. “We made a couple of adjustments by widening the linebackers and just daring them to run it.
“We thought we had a bit of a size advantage if they decided to do that.”
The Oklahoma defense not only bottled up the Texas offense, but it also didn’t allow it out of its own territory until the 3-minute mark of the second quarter, which also was about the same time it was finally able to gets its second first down of the night.
While the defense was limiting Texas to eight offensive plays in the first quarter, along with three sacks, a fumble and an interception over the course of the first half, offensive MVP Andrew Brewer and the Oklahoma offense were taking full advantage.
And it managed to do the vast majority of its work in Texas territory.
Brewer finished the night with a 3-yard keeper for one touchdown and a 1-yard pass to William Bencoma for another in the second quarter.
“They just outplayed us,” Texas coach Tom Howard said. “They out-coached and out-schemed us, too. Their kids came out ready to play and our kids didn’t and that’s all I can say about it.”
Oklahoma led 19-0 before Blake Szymanski led Texas on its lone scoring drive just before halftime, ending with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Lacey to make the score 19-7.
Texas quarterbacks Szymanski and Chase Daniel were held to a combined 13-for-33 passing for 127 yards with two interceptions and plenty of frustrated, confused looks.
“Early in the game, anything that could go wrong for us went wrong,” Howard said. “We just never did recover from it – we were never able to recover.”
Hirschi’s Darius Allen finished with four tackles while Wichita Falls High School’s David Gross had a sack and two solo tackles in their Memorial Stadium finales. Vernon’s Anthony Hall had four rushes for eight yards and Bowie’s Phillip Hood recorded one solo tackle.
Staff sports writer Stephen C. Smith Sr. can be reached after 6:30 p.m. at 1-800-627-1646 or (940) 720-3470. Or you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.