Oklahoma’s Defense Steps Up in Red River Win Over Rival Texas

The Sooners led with their defense in a big win in Dallas over Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns.
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Texas football Sam Ehlinger vs Oklahoma defense

The 2019 edition of the Red River Rivalry showdown had an unlikely narrative: defense.

Pitting an offense that entered the day averaging 484 yards per game (Texas) with the one that leads the nation with 644 (Oklahoma), a lot of points were expected in Dallas. The Vegas over/under for the game was set at 78, a total that the 34–27 final score in favor of the Sooners fell comfortably short of. Despite the one-score margin, OU led from wire-to-wire and generally controlled the day.

Oklahoma’s defense has been much maligned over the years, failing to complement an explosive offense led by the likes of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and, now, Jalen Hurts, but new DC Alex Grinch's unit played like one up to the task in Saturday’s win.

The Sooners held Sam Ehlinger and the Longhorns to 27 points and just 310 total yards, both well under Texas’s season averages. And while Oklahoma didn’t force any turnovers, it sacked Ehlinger nine times, recorded 15 tackles for loss and held Texas to 5.5 yards per pass and 2.8 per rush, allowing Texas to reach the end zone just three times. It was a far cry from the performance Ehlinger and the UT offense put up in a Week 2 loss to LSU, when they scored 38 and Ehlinger threw for 401 yards alone.

Meanwhile, the Sooners' dynamic offense wasn’t as sharp as usual in Dallas—especially in the red zone—but still racked up 511 total yards and overcame both not having TE Grant Calcaterra and a sluggish first half in which it scored just 10 points. Despite being responsible for two turnovers (a fumble and an interception), Hurts accounted for 356 total yards and four touchdowns. It was a valiant effort by a Texas defense that has been severely banged up in recent weeks, but ultimately not enough.

The individual star on the day was Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb, who caught 10 passes for 171 yards and scored three touchdowns, showing off his highlight-reel moves and elusiveness to make two of the game’s more critical scores.

With the game tied 10–10 in the third quarter, Lamb found pay dirt on a 51-yard flea flicker, beating multiple Longhorns defenders on his way to the house.

Lamb came up big again minutes into the fourth quarter with a gutsy 27-yard touchdown grab that capped a quick response by Oklahoma after Texas had drawn within three.

The win keeps the Sooners undefeated at 6–0, with West Virginia coming to town next week. Texas now has two losses and is 4–2, likely ending any College Football Playoff hopes. Both of the Longhorns’ defeats came to current top-10 teams.