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No More Ignoring Sooners for UT

Discussion in 'Sports Zone' started by TxStar61, Oct 4, 2004.

  1. TxStar61

    TxStar61 New Member

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    LONGHORNS FOOTBALL
    No more ignoring Sooners for UT

    Nation ready to see if Longhorns can solve Sooner riddle.


    Harry Cabluck /ASSOCIATED PRESS


    Longhorns Coach Mack Brown says Saturday's game against nemesis Sooners isn't about saving his job.


    By Cedric Golden

    AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF

    Monday, October 04, 2004

    After an easy 44-14 win over Baylor on Saturday, Texas players deflected any talk of Oklahoma and insisted on talking about how they handled the overmatched Bears.

    But now Baylor is literally yesterday's news. And the entire nation wants to hear how the Longhorns expect to solve a four-year riddle against a Sooner team that has had all the answers in the Red River Shootout lately.

    Texas (4-0) has lost four straight to Oklahoma, including a 65-13 rout in 2003 that had many Texas fans heading to the State Fair concourse by the end of the third quarter.

    The Sooners could win a fifth straight game in the rivalry for the first time since 1971 through 1975. The Sooners have outscored Texas 177-54 in the last four games, and Brown admits his Longhorns have not held up their end of the rivalry.

    "We'll know more about ourselves Saturday afternoon," he said. "There will be so much talk about this game, but all we want to do is get better. There will be a lot of chatter, but none of that will matter Saturday."

    And for anyone who may be interested, Brown does not believe his job security hinges on a Texas win.

    "It's not about my job," said Brown, who feigned surprise that none of the reporters in Sunday's teleconference wanted to talk about the Baylor game. "I will keep my job regardless of the outcome of this game."

    Brown's immediate concerns rest with his special teams. Sophomore Aaron Ross fumbled a punt return and also let one punt bound by him to be downed inside the five-yard line.

    Brown said he is still confident in senior kicker Dusty Mangum, who has missed three straight field goals, though Saturday's miss was from 48 yards on a wet field.

    He is pleased with the development of an inexperienced receiving corps that came up with nine catches and two touchdowns Saturday.

    While Brown has always preached balance — he strives to rush for 200 yards and pass for 200 yards each week — he knows the Longhorns are a running team first and foremost. It starts with the offensive line and senior tailback Cedric Benson, who ran for 188 yards Saturday and passed Earl Campbell for second place on the school's all-time rushing list (4,452 yards).

    Benson (746 yards in 2004) is the nation's top rusher, and Texas is the nation's top rushing team at 353.5 yards per game. The Horns average 7.0 yards per running play and have pounded the opposition with Benson between the tackles and quarterback Vince Young picking his spots.

    Oklahoma (4-0) boasts the nation's sixth best run defense, allowing 77.0 yards per game and 2.7 yards per rush. And the Sooners are doing it without the departed Tommie Harris and Teddy Lehman, and without troubled Dusty Dvoracek, a defensive tackle who was booted off the team last month for disciplinary reasons.

    Still, second-ranked OU had a tougher time with Texas Tech on Saturday (a 28-13 win) than was expected. Texas has won by fewer points than expected its last three times out.

    This week the Texas defense, ranked 17th, has to contend with OU's potent offense. Jason White completed 17 of 21 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns against Texas last year, while Mark Clayton (who is back this year) caught eight passes for 190 yards and a score.

    They will be joined by freshman runner Adrian Peterson, who is eighth in the country with 546 yards and has run for over 100 yards in each of Oklahoma's four games.

    Questions for the Longhorns this week:

    Will Mack Brown be fired if Texas loses again?

    The Texas coach insists his job is safe, even if the Longhorns come up short in Dallas.

    Brown has led Texas to at least nine wins in each of his six seasons, but the recent drought against the Sooners has drawn comparisons to former Ohio State Coach John Cooper, a good coach and great recruiter who was fired after finishing 2-10-1 against Big Ten rival Michigan.

    Can Texas run against Oklahoma?

    Texas certainly has the weapons at its disposal. The Longhorns' ability or inability to run will likely determine who wins this game.

    Texas is 19-0 when Cedric Benson rushes for 100 yards in a game. He has rushed for only 75 yards on 34 carries in two games against the Sooners.

    QB Vince Young was the lone bright spot against OU last year with 127 yards and a touchdown.

    Will defensive tackle Rod Wright play Saturday?

    Wright was not in uniform against Baylor and was wearing a protective boot over his injured right ankle on the sidelines. He walked with a noticeable limp.

    Brown said the training staff will evaluate Wright today. If Wright cannot go, senior Stevie Lee and freshman Frank Okam will step in.

    — Cedric Golden

    2-Oklahoma vs. 5-Texas

    When: 11 a.m. Saturday

    Where: Cotton Bowl, Dallas

    Records: Both teams are 4-0.

    TV: ABC

    Radio: KVET (98.1 FM, 1300 AM); KOKE (1600-AM, Spanish)

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