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Shooting From the End: OU 45, Texas 40

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NCAA Football: Texas at Oklahoma Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Welp. We laid out the defensive bar that Charlie had to clear to keep hope alive for 2017, win lose or draw. Not only did Texas not clear that bar, but they called up Harry Stamper’s crew from Armageddon, tunneled under that bar to a depth of 800 feet and set off a nuke that blew the Strong Era into a million pieces.

Let’s get through this one fast and get back to drinking.

OFFENSE

Whatever the coaching particulars, Texas was unlikely to walk out of the Cotton Bowl with a win unless the offensive line continued the trend from the last three seasons and simply beat their Sooner counterparts up and down the field. In the second half they largely did. But in the first half it seemed like the Mack Brown sit down to pee approach had reasserted itself. And in a game where the defense fell completely apart, those were lost possessions that Texas could not afford.

The first half featured limited running lanes and constant pressure on Shane Buechele. The limited running lanes were to be expected considering OU’s only defensive strength is in the A and B gaps with their down linemen, but a team with zero plus pass rushers netted 4+ sacks or heavy hits on Buechele in the first half. Outside zone would have been welcome, too, but grinding away and shooting deep is more or less what this offense does. Shooting deep against #7 should have been constantly successful because he is a poor defensive back, but he turned in a Deion Sanders-caliber performance in the first half with multiple batted passes while staying closer to receivers then he has all season.

Texas’ inability to keep edge guys from crashing in and dumping runs in the backfield was another consistent first half problem, as was the inexplicable use of Tyrone Swoopes as a spread quarterback. When your quarterback is incapable of passing and you spread the field with four WRs, you are boned because the defense will send a free hitter at you and dump you in the backfield when you can't block the down the linemen to begin with.

In the first half, Shane Buechele played like a freshman. In the second half he played like a stallion, but it was not enough to overcome what we saw on the other side of the ball. Collin Johnson stepped up, Devin Duvernay stepped up , John Burt failed violently overall though it was Buechele’s bad miss inside that kept Burt from hauling in at least one deep TD (presuming he actually caught the damn thing.)

D’Onta Foreman fought hard with limited blocking in the first half and kicked OU's ass in the second half, and would have been a hero in a win. We've got him for seven more games, enjoy him.

Some idiot said Devin Duvernay did not have football speed this week. We saw that he did. Collin Johnson showed his ability to make tough catches, body off people on slants and all around present a terrifying threat outside. The cupboard is well-stocked on offense, and once the young lineman step in to replace some guys who failed violently early in this one, this offense will be ready to be hell on wheels. For someone.

DEFENSE

Holy living fuck.

Texas did not come out perfect in the first half, but they came out competing. The Longhorns forced multiple turnovers, looked organized in the back seven, and a generally kept the OU offense under wraps. Malcolm Roach made an insane play, dropping back to force a fumble that was caught in the air by Dylan Haines. Haines bagged a legit pick of his own following a great read of Mayfield’s eyes, and it seemed like this defense was finally ready to play in this one.

Texas did a nightmarish job of defending OU’s key running play, the counter, by repeatedly failing to spill the run outside. But overall, the defense hung tough in the first half. And then at the end, Mayfield rolled out, got no pass rush, (including Malcolm Roach’s inexplicable decision not to rush him) and fired a deep ball inside of Davante Davis for a long TD.

And from that point forward, the defensive rout was on.

The second half was an unmitigated disaster. There was no run defense on Samaje Perine. There was no pass defense on anyone. There was not a front seven defender who got close enough to Baker Mayfield to tell you his jersey number. Holton Hill, Kris Boyd and lots of other folks utterly failed to relate to receivers in a way that seemed as though they had received coaching one day in their lives.

And in a second half where the offense came to life, the defense utterly failed to give them a platform to come back and win the game.

There is a lot more to be said here, but my phone is dying at the fairgrounds and it's time to wrap this up. So let's just say that this defensive showing was Charlie’s au revoir. And since it’s hard to say au revoir, let's just say...au gratin.

SPECIAL TEAMS

We won special teams! Comprehensively! And it didn't matter! Go Dickson! Go kick cover team! Go return blocking!

Wish it had happened once more during the first 29 games of Charlie’s tenure.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Losing to OU sucks, because OU sucks. Losing faith in your head coach sucks, because he's your head coach.

But what's lost is lost.

Hopefully the team fights as hard down the stretch as it did when it seemed that the cause was lost in this one. But the big picture view is more about the future than the present.

And the future can't get here soon enough.