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Oklahoma Sooners Football: Superb defense keys OU’s 34-27 win in Red River Showdown

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Defense gets redemption, sacking Texas QB Sam Ehlinger nine times in big rivalry win.

The Golden Hat is returning to Norman. A sterling defensive effort enabled the Oklahoma Sooners to overcome early offensive miscues to take down the Texas Longhorns in the annual Red River Showdown, 34-27.

Yes, you read that right. A year after giving a humiliating performance in the Cotton Bowl to help fuel a Texas upset, OU’s defense stymied the the Longhorns and their star quarterback Sam Ehlinger for the better part of four quarters. UT gained 310 yards on 74 plays, an average of just 4.2 yards per snap. OU sacked Ehlinger nine times on the day.

The Sooners needed the defensive performance after struggling in the red zone the entire game. Senior QB Jalen Hurts lost a fumble inside Texas’ 10-yard line in the first quarter to kill a promising drive. He threw an ill-advised interception with OU at the UT 11 in the second quarter, which prevented the Sooners from extending a 7-0 lead. Two other trips inside the 20 ended in Gabe Brkic field goals.

Hurts enjoyed an otherwise solid day, completing 16 of his 28 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns. He added 131 yards on 17 rushes and a touchdown on the ground.

Fortunately for Hurts, stud receiver CeeDee Lamb might have played the best game of his entire career at OU with 10 receptions for 171 yards and three scores. OU coach Lincoln Riley clearly made it a point to get the ball in Lamb’s hands, including using him as an element in the running game on jet sweep action and orbit motion.

The game ultimately belong, though, to first-year coordinator Alex Grinch and his relentless D. Although the Sooners failed to produce any of the turnovers that Grinch craves, they battered Ehlinger all game. In addition to creating negative plays, OU harassed the Texas QB into rushed throws and bailing on the pocket.

OU nose tackles Neville Gallimore and Marquise Overton controlled the interior of the line of scrimmage, combining for three sacks in the game. Meanwhile, MIKE linebacker Kenneth Murray and safety Delarrin Turner-Yell cleaned up once the Longhorns advanced the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. Notably, DTY played the best game of his young career, notching nine solo tackles and a tackle for loss.

Perhaps the Longhorns will get their chance at revenge in December in the Big 12 championship game. Either way, OU owns bragging rights in college football’s greatest rivalry for the next year.

Source: Crimson and Cream Machine