Tom Herman has undeniably forged a team that doesn't quit when it gets punched in the mouth.
The next step is getting our hands above our waist some time in the first four rounds of the fight.
The most physical team has a hell of a shiny record in this game. It was going to be tough to out-physical OU between the guards, it became clear early that our tackles had their hands full with Okadoka Onkamarawokamara...#31, and gifting the Sooners with 11 personnel for the bulk of the game helped ensure that it would be tough to fully exploit our best matchups out wide. It was a game plan that demanded hero ball from #11...and he was damn near up to the task.
Sam Ehlinger isn't overly accurate. A half dozen of his misses were makeable, and either of his sideline balls to Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson could have been housed if they'd been laid inside.
Sam Ehlinger isn't overly fast. He can be hauled down by edge rushers who get loose - a common occurrence - and when he breaks into the open field, you look for a dropped shoulder and a first down rather than a step, shake and a touchdown.
But Sam Ehlinger has a set of big brass ones, and they nearly clanked loud enough to hand Texas a wildly improbable comeback win. Whether it was making clutch late finds to Humphrey and Mapps over the middle, escaping a half-dozen free rushers, keying Texas' only credible and sane run concept of the day with the speed option in the third quarter, throwing a note-perfect corner route to Mapps in the 4th or salvaging a clustered play action call with a TD scramble on the same drive, Ehlinger kept answering the bell in a game that looked on track for a textbook Macking in the first quarter.
Hemphill-Mapps and Humphrey did the most to help the cause, and LJH was a combined three inches from two more grabs that could have set up a make-able Hail Mary on the final drive. Even though we chose to give OU a free double team on Collin Johnson far too often, he failed to assert himself and needs to be something more than Malcolm Williams with better PR to elevate a pass first, second and third offense. Cade Brewer did everything within his power, and his catch, run and decleating of a Sooner defender on Texas’ go-ahead TD drive came within a scintilla of justifying his opportunity cost.
Chris Warren starred as Larger Kyle Porter with a strong blocking effort and a powerful TD run while doing most of his damage as a receiver, and Toneil Carter predictably ripped the OU D on the Inverted Read Hahahaha just kidding.
An undermanned OL turned in an effort that was sometimes scrappy, and sometimes lacking the "s."
The offensive plan dressed up a sub-par strategic approach with some nice tactical calls.
The Longhorn D turned in a passable overall effort against an elite O, but it was a case of one too many when it came to turning a laudable effort into a memorable win.
One too many busted coverages, including absolutely losing CeeDee Lamb on a first-quarter post with the horror show on the Andrews wheel route (which looked like a Locke/Jones f-up from Sec 11) for the game winner as the piece de not-quite-enough-resistance. One too many Boyd’ings, taking a shit with no rinse by Bidet Badet on the Sooners’ first TD while serving as the wildly predictable target of a halfback pass from Trey Sermon. One too many hands-on escapes by Baker Mayfield, with Malik’s chip-off by the back as the most costly and Omenihu’s third quarter catch-and-release the most inexcusable. The concept of karma was already on hard days in 2017, and Mayfield’s escapes and eventual claim of a 2-1 series mark probably put it entirely in its grave.
The Sooner ground game was forced to grind after a fast start when it looked like they’d roll up 250+ in jumping out to a 17-0 lead, but the 13-yard Trey Sermon draw on 3rd and 12 rivaled many of Quentin Griffin’s early-2000’s scampers for pure hat-throwing frustration. A more detailed breakdown of the breakdowns - and good plays - will need a re-watch, but the Longhorn front scrapped as hard as it could against the conference’s best offensive line.
We got some pass rush and needed more than we got, forced a couple of holds and needed one more than we got and made some money stops...and needed one more than we got.
There’s only so big a hole you can dig yourself early if you want to prevail late.
Kudos to Kyle Porter, whose 40+ yard rumble up the sideline teed up the Longhorns’ first touchdown when the game looked like it was on its way to utter disaster.
Michael Dickson thundered from down under, but the Longhorns had the misfortune to endure an equally stout day from Dickson’s opposite number. Reggie Hemphill-Mapps did a solid job fielding a number of punts, but his loss of 10 yards ahead of a drive that died at the Sooner 27 yard line...stung a bit.
THE BOTTOM LINE
You can be proud as hell of the bulk of the effort from the vast majority of the roster and still be frustrated as hell that an early turtling and late brainlock stole the chance to remain atop the Big XII and log the first signature win of the Tom Herman era...let alone losing that chance against your most hated rival. We’ll leave the future implications of what we saw today - both good and bad - for another day. For now, toast the boys with one drink and drown your sorrows with a couple more. And never forget that win, lose or draw...OU still sucks.