Skip to main content

Oklahoma-Texas: One Big Thing

Brent Venables knew winning is hard, but that's taken on a whole new meaning in the Sooners' two-game losing streak; now the Sooners need to avoid making history.

DALLAS — Oklahoma would be wise to avoid hearing three little words this weekend.

No, not “Another Texas touchdown.”

“The last time.”

The Sooners go into Saturday’s 11 a.m. game with Texas afflicted by quite the combination of football maladies: a personnel and culture rebuild under Brent Venables, an alarming display of inconsistent play, and a disturbing run of injuries.

The latter, which started last week in Fort Worth with quarterback Dillon Gabriel, left tackle Wanya Morris, safety Damond Harmon, running back Eric Gray and others, now extends to linebacker Shane Whitter, who is reportedly out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Put those all together and OU football has become, to borrow from Venables, a recipe for disaster.

The last thing Venables wants to hear now as his program teeters on freefall is “the last time.”

The last time the Red River Rivals were both unranked (1998). The last time the Sooners were underdogs against Texas (2009). The last time OU was blown out by the Longhorns (2005). The last time Oklahoma lost three in a row (again, 1998).

Venables was still wearing the purple and silver of Kansas State when OU last dropped three straight. Bob Stoops himself was an assistant at Florida.

John Blake was the Oklahoma head coach, and the Sooners were in the throes of misery: a 13-12 loss to Cal, a 27-25 loss to Colorado, a 34-3 loss to Texas, a 20-6 loss to Missouri and a 41-26 loss to Oklahoma State.

It was the longest losing streak in school history. Venables’ team is currently sitting on two in a row, so there’s a long, long way to go. But such depths are achievable.

With the Sooners’ upcoming schedule — undefeated Kansas comes to town next week, a road trip to Iowa State awaits after that, followed by a visit from Baylor, a flight to West Virginia, a home game with unbeaten Oklahoma State and a trip to Texas Tech — where is the Sooners’ next victory?

Lincoln Riley used to say “winning is hard.”

That’s three more words Venables can certainly identify with going into Saturday’s showdown.