Football falls short in AT&T Red River Showdown

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DALLAS, Texas – The University of Texas (3-3, 2-1) battled back from a 20-point deficit to take a lead in the fourth quarter, but fell to No. 12/12 Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1), 29-24, in the AT&T Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday afternoon.

True freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger completed 19-of-39 passes for 278 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for a team-leading 102 with a touchdown.

Oklahoma scored on their first possession of the game, taking an early 7-0 lead on a 54-yard touchdown pass to close out a 5-play, 85-yard drive.

The Sooners pushed to the UT 6-yard line on their next drive, but on third-and-5 junior linebacker Malik Jefferson came up with a sack for a 2-yard loss, forcing OU to settle for a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 3:49 remaining in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Sooners extended the lead to 17-0 on a 15-yard touchdown run to wrap up a 9-play, 80-yard drive, then tacked on a 28-yard field goal with 4:32 remaining in the half to extend the lead to 20-0.

Texas answered with a touchdown drive on the next possession, cutting the deficit to 20-7. Sophomore running back Kyle Porter returned the Oklahoma kickoff 41 yards to the UT 43 and took a hit out of bounds, resulting in a 15-yard personal foul penalty against Oklahoma. Starting with the ball in Oklahoma territory, Ehlinger ran for six yards up the middle, then scrambled for another five yards to the OU 31. A horse collar tackle against OU gave the Sooners their second 15-yard personal foul penalty of the possession and pushed the Longhorns to the OU 16. After missing on a pass to the back-right corner of the end zone, Ehlinger was chased out of the pocket and found Porter on a screen pass, who carried it to the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. The score was Porter’s first receiving touchdown of the year and fourth overall.

The Sooners threated to add to their lead on their next possession, as they worked their way to the Texas 31. Looking to extend the drive on fourth-and-3, Mayfield was baited by junior defensive back John Bonney, who faked a blitz before stepping back into the passing lane and intercepting a pass at the 31-yard line with 59 seconds remaining. The interception was the first against Mayfield this season, Bonney’s first as a Longhorn and the ninth for the Texas defense this season. 

Texas quickly moved downfield, with Ehlinger completing passes to senior wide receiver Lorenzo Joe for eight yards, then to freshman wide receiver Reggie Hemphill-Mapps at midfield for a pickup of 11. Sophomore wide receiver Lil’Jordan Humphrey caught a pass down the left sideline for 23 yards, then gained another eight yards on a catch in the middle of the field. Sophomore wide receiver Collin Johnson added two more yards with a reception at the OU 17 before junior kicker Joshua Rowland hit 34-yard field goal as time expired in the half with UT trailing, 20-10.

Oklahoma started with the ball in the second half and added a 36-yard field goal to go ahead 23-10.

Ehlinger and the Texas offense picked up where it left off in the first half, scoring on their first drive of the half on 1-yard touchdown run by junior running back Chris Warren III to slice the deficit to six with Oklahoma ahead, 23-17. The Horns started the drive by twice converting on third-and-8 – first on a 17-yard reception by junior running back Chris Warren III caught a pass for 17-yard yards, then on an Oklahoma defensive holding penalty that kept the drive alive. After short gains on a pair of running plays, Texas converted on third-and-4 with a pass to Warren for 15 yards to the OU 23. An OU late hit on Ehlinger resulted in a 12-yard penalty to give Texas the ball at the Oklahoma 11-yard line. Three quarterback keepers by Ehlinger gave Texas a first down just outside the one-yard line, where Warren, with an assist from Ehlinger, pushed his way into the end zone.

The Horns took their first lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter on an 8-yard touchdown run by Ehlinger to put Texas up 24-23. The 8-play, 73-yard drive was highlighted a one-handed 7-yard reception by Hemphill-Mapps, a third-down 22-yard pass by Ehlinger from the left hash to the right sideline to Hemphill-Mapps and a 21-yard reception freshman tight end Cade Brewer at the OU 8-yard line that set up Ehlinger’s touchdown.

Oklahoma answered right back, scoring three plays later to regain the lead, 29-24, on a 59-yard touchdown pass. OU failed on a pass for the two-point conversion, keeping the difference at five points.

The quarterback combination of Ehlinger and sophomore Shane Buechele led Texas to the OU 31 on the next possession, but the Longhorns were unable to get any further, turning the ball over on downs with 1:52 remaining in regulation.

Texas forced a three-and-out on the next OU possession, giving the Horns one final chance with 49 seconds remaining at their own 4-yard line. After receiving the snap in his own end zone, Ehlinger connected with Johnson for a 20-yard reception, then converted a fourth down after Ehlinger scrambled for a 13-yard gain to the UT 42. A series of lateral plays and runs moved the Horns six yards to the 48, but the clock ran out during the play.

Jefferson led the Horns defensively, picking up 11 tackles to go along with his sack, while junior defensive back Holton Hill and senior linebacker Naashon Hughes recorded seven tackles each, and junior defensive lineman Charles Omenihu registered his team-leading third sack of the season. 

Texas went 4-for-4 in the red zone, scoring 24 points, and converted on 8-of-17 third down chances.

The Longhorns will be back at Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium for a matchup with Oklahoma State on Saturday, Oct. 21.

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Source: Texas Sports

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