By Arnie Leshin
When Oklahoma and Texas meet up annually at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, they always put on quite a show, and that and the state fair, make for the a double feature.
So on Saturday morning, with a noon kickoff , and with the state fair going on outside, the Sooners and Longhorns decided to meet at midfield and introduce themselves before the kickoff. So one Sooner pushed a Longhorn, a Longhorn shoved a Sooner, helmets flew off, words of nasty intent were exchanged, and the rumble was on.
There weren’t any reports of player injuries, but of course the game officials had to get into the mix and calm things down, stop the brawling and inform the players that there’s a football game to be played, not fought. And so two officials, both linesmen, reported bruises, bumps, helmet cuts, and whatever else comes when you butt into a college clash on the gridiron.
The head referee was angry, very angry, when things cooled down, he ordered both head coaches onto the field and informed them that every player on their team was receiving suspensions now, and if any one of them is flagged for another, they are ejected and suspended for the next game, too.
Whew, now on with the game, the 117th of this Red River Rivalry. The 4th or 6th place (whatever poll you like) Sooners arrived undefeated at 5-0 and the 11th ranked Longhorns had won four of five.
Oklahoma never trailed, quarterback Jalen Hurts wouldn’t let them. He passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns, ran for 188 and scored three times, and whenever Texas would threaten and get within, let’s say a touchdown, he’d answer back on his next possession.
The three touchdown passes went to Cee Dee Lamb, who on two of them caught the ball, shook off a few defenders, and scrambled into the end zone. He was no doubt the player of the game. Meanwhile, Hurts ran untouched three times into the end zone, once down the left sideline, once down the right sideline, and on the last one he just ran right up the middle.
The final score was 34-27, but one look at the statistics would let you know who had the superior game, although the final score is what matters most. But just to take a gander, Oklahoma was very impressive defensively, a huge improvement over the recent years, and sacked Longhorn quarterback Sam Erinager nine times. It stopped the running game, knocked away passes, and allowed but one long run all game.
And on offense, the Sooners went with four different running backs, with all of them and Hurts combining for 303 yards, plus Lamb made a dozen catches for 119 yards. Plus, they will move past Georgia when the previously unbeaten 3rd ranked Bulldogs were stunned by unranked visiting South Carolina, 20-17, in two overtimes.
No. 1 ranked Alabama moved to 6-0 by taking a 47-28 win at 24th ranked Texas A & M; No. 2 Clemson won its sixth straight by dominating visiting Florida State, 45-14; Next it was unbeaten No. 4 LSU rolling over No. 7 Florida, 42-28, then came Oklahoma, which was No. 6 in the AP Poll and No. 4 in the Coaches Poll, followed by No. 8 unbeaten Wisconsin blanking Michigan State, 38-0, and there was No. 9 Notre Dame (4-1) winning a tight one, 30-27, over Southern California.
No. 10 Penn State also had a tough go before winning at No. 17 Iowa and remaining undefeated in six starts. There was a mild upset when Temple (5-1) turned back No. 23 Memphis, 30-28, for the Tigers’ first loss. And another surprise when No. 20 Virginia (4-2) fell to Miami, 17-9.
Other ranked teams won handily, as No. 13 Oregon (5-1) trounced Colorado, 45-13, and with No. 14 Boise State winning its sixth in a row, 45-14, over Hawaii, and No. 15 Utah (5-1) overwhelming Oregon State, 52-7. No. 16 Michigan (5-1) took down Illinois, 42-25, and there was No. 18 Arizona State (5-1) winning a close one over Washington, 38-34.
Ohio State, the 4th ranked team, had a bye weekend. The Buckeyes, Bama, Clemson, LSU and Oklahoma now own the top five spots, for now.