Texas Football Gets Tough, Finally Finds Offensive Identity

Taylor GasparFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2013

Oct 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns quarterback Case McCoy (6) celebrates with the Golden Hat Trophy after the game against the Oklahoma Sooners during the Red River Rivalry at the Cotton Bowl Stadium. The Texas Longhorns beat the Oklahoma Sooners 36-20.  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It had been more than 20 years since an unranked Texas team beat a ranked Oklahoma team. But that streak ended Saturday when the Texas Longhorns stunned the college football nation, upsetting the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners 36-20 in the 108th Red River Rivalry.

The Longhorns offense put up one of its best performances under play-caller Major Applewhite, racking up 445 yards against Oklahoma's stout defense. The Sooners entered the game ranked No. 9 nationally in total defense, with their opponents averaging 263 yards of total offense, and No. 6 in scoring defense allowing just 13 points through the first five games of the season.

After Saturday's performance against the Texas offense, the Sooners will likely drop in the statistical rankings.

The Texas offense showed similarities to the dominant offense's of the Longhorns past under Mack Brown. The offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, giving Case McCoy enough pass protection to complete 13-of-21 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. The line also helped open up holes for running backs Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown to both rack up more than 100 yards on the ground, something Texas had never done in its 108 games against Oklahoma.

Applewhite more than redeemed himself after the questionable play-calling in the Longhorns' game against Iowa State, when Texas abandoned the run and finished the game with 45 pass attempts.

Texas went into the Cotton Bowl averaging close to a 50/50 split between run and pass plays, but the Longhorns centered Saturday's game around the run, rushing 60 times compared to the 29 passing attempts.

The game plan was obviously a success.

The complete offensive performance is what Applewhite has been waiting to see and finally gives the Longhorns an offensive identity. 

"It has nothing to do with plays," offensive coordinator Major Applewhite said of the offense's identity. "It has to do with fighting, believing in yourself and playing your ass off. Period."

And the Longhorns did just that.

What does the Red River Rout mean for Texas moving forward?

The Longhorns entered the Red River Rivalry as a 14-point underdog to the Sooners but left the Cotton Bowl with a boost of confidence and a much-needed offensive identity.

Texas is now 3-0 in conference play and has its Big 12 title goal still intact. But in order to win the Big 12, the Longhorns need to continue to play with a run-first game plan and build upon the tough offensive identity the offense gained against Oklahoma.

All quotes were obtained firsthand.

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