Red River Rivalry: Another Texas Flop Has Mack Brown Looking for Answers Again

Adam KramerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2016

Texas, I don’t even know what to say. I’m rarely speechless, but you’ve left me dazed and confused and there’s just entirely too much to sift through. I wish I could blame it on the fried deliciousness of the State Fair of Texas, but I can't.

I suppose I can start with the most basic question that is on the minds of many.

What the hell was that?

The Red River Rivalry is one of my favorite games of the college football season, and the early start is a refreshing break away from the typical underwhelming early slate of morning games. The results may vary, but this is more than just a conference matchup between two teams that are almost always ranked, with one team almost always featured in the AP Top 10.

For the first time since 1999, however, neither Texas nor Oklahoma was ranked in the Top 10 heading into the October showdown at the Cotton Bowl. The 2012 matchup had a much different feel, although the stakes were high, as they usually are.

The winner would assert themselves as one of the favorites in the Big 12. The loser would be batched back into a larger group that we’re still trying to assess. Although national championship hopes weren’t on the line, this was an important game.

Much like 2011, this one was over early and it was all Oklahoma. The final scoreboard read 63-21, making this one of the most lopsided blowouts in Red River Rivalry history. And really, it wasn't that close. The television network went to a different game as the fourth quarter was getting underway. They, much like the rest of us, had seen enough.

After the first half, if not earlier, this game was over. Texas was out-gained 407 to 65 in total yards in the first 30 minutes. It trended much worse early on.


OU has outgained Texas 314-14. Horns look awful.

— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) October 13, 2012


The lone Texas points in the first half came on a returned blocked extra point, which Texas took back the other way for two. That was it.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, this Texas defense gave up 192 rushing yards to the pass-happy West Virginia Mountaineers only a week ago. We knew they had problems, but we assumed that the talent that they have—and there are more than a handful of NFL players on that side of the ball—would eventually come together.

At least that’s how I thought Texas would respond. 

It didn’t happen, not even close, and the tackling issues that have plagued this team were prevalent once again. Oklahoma fullback Trey Millard was featured in a few of these plays, and he did his part to add to what will be a woeful defensive film session for the Longhorns.

The defensive line was picked apart, the secondary struggled to cover, well, anyone, and Oklahoma tore this defense to shreds early and often. Although this side will receive the blunt of the criticism in this one, the offense had absolutely zero success. The running game has truly yet to get going this year, and they’ve taken advantage of playing questionable (to say the least) defenses in the first half to put up solid numbers.

The offense has improved from 2011, but what exactly does that tell us? Also, this is Texas, a school with more football resources than perhaps anyone in the country.

Two quarters told us one story on Saturday, but the last two Red River Rivalry games tell us another.

Oklahoma has outscored Texas 118 to 38 in the past two years, which is staggering and something that won't sit well with the Longhorn faithful. 

It's hard to pinpoint the root of this problem, because as we saw against Oklahoma, there are many. In the short-term, they need to somehow improve their front-seven play, although this is easier said than done at this point in the year. The offensive play-calling has also been questionable up until this point, and they have to find a way get their talented stable of running backs more involved.

With two losses in the Big 12, Texas will have to somehow pick up the pieces. They have a manageable remaining schedule to do so, but road games at Texas Tech and Kansas State are still on tap. It'll be very interesting to see how this team bounces back.

We didn't know what kind of Texas team we would see in 2012, but we didn't expect they'd ever be on the other end of a game like this. Mack Brown is regarded as one of college football's great coaches, as he absolutely still should be.

Since the start of the 2010 season, however, he is 17-14, and you wonder when the head-coach grumblings will begin. Perhaps they've already started.

Although we were hoping that this game against Oklahoma would give us answers about this 2012 Longhorns team, that was not to be. This Red River Rivalry has been anything but a rivalry of late.