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Red River Blowout: Texas Obliterates Oklahoma in Historic Beatdown

The Sooners tried every trick in the book, but while the defense continued to struggle,  nothing worked for the offense.

DALLAS — With no pulse offensively and a defense on life support, Oklahoma might be tempted to pull the plug on 2022.

That’s not how college football works.

Not with Kansas coming to Norman next week.

The Sooners lost their third game in a row on Saturday in a crushing 49-0 defeat to archrival Texas. It’s OU’s first three-game losing streak since 1998 — the year before head coach Brent Venables arrived as Bob Stoops’ co-defensive coordinator — and was also OU’s first shutout since losing 29-0 to Texas A&M in 1998.

That snaps a streak of 311 consecutive games with at least something on the scoreboard for Oklahoma. That was the ninth-longest streak in college football history dating back to 1869.

It also marked the Sooners’ biggest loss to the Longhorns in the history of the series — far worse than the 45-12 defeat in 2005.

But that was a national championship Texas side, a club led by Hall of Famers Mack Brown and Vince Young and a multitude of future NFL players.

This Texas team isn’t that. The Longhorns improved to 4-2 because the 3-3 Sooners couldn’t generate a heartbeat in OU’s ugliest defeat in the history of the series. There were plenty of innovations from last week, especially on offense. But no matter what Oklahoma tried, nothing seemed to work.

"That’s what they pay the coach for," Venables said. "We didn’t coach ‘em great we didn’t play great, but I thought our guys continued to compete."

It wasn’t for lack of Oklahoma trying.

The OU coaching staff dressed out quarterback Dillon Gabriel and trotted him out for warmups, but coming off a devastating concussion in last week’s blowout loss, he had no legitimate shot at actually playing.

"Dillon felt good. He really did," said offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby. "But at the end of the day, it wasn’t in his best interests for him to do this today. Of course he was crushed."

Venables said the OU medical team determined "somewhere midweek," that Gabriel couldn't go. "They realized he probably wouldn’t be the guy."

So Davis Beville, an offseason transfer addition from Pittsburgh, made his first career start at quarterback — but struggled mightily and frequently gave way to a varied compilation of wildcat QBs.

"Going through that full week, preparing as the starter, was definitely different for me," Beville said.

Tight end Brayden Willis, running backs Eric Gray and Marcus Major and wide receiver Jalil Farooq all took direct snaps. There were reverses, end-arounds, passes, fake passes, jump passes, double-passes — there was even a toss from holder/punter Michael Turk to kicker Zach Schmit for a first down out of field goal formation.

Lebby said the design was to take pressure off Beville. The gamesmanship worked to a large degree against a Texas defense that often looked outnumbered on the edges.

Ultimately, it all went for naught as the Sooners couldn’t sustain the trickery — either well enough to pop a long one, or consistently enough to convert the third- and multiple fourth-down plays.

"I think that’s what’s most frustrating," Lebby said, "is it put us into some really good situations that we didn’t take advantage of there in the first half on those first five drives. So, frustrated about that, embarrassed that it ended the way it did."

Beville completed just 6-of-12 passes for 38 yards with an interception before giving way to freshman Nick Evers late in the fourth quarter.

On the other side, Texas got a 19-of-28 passing performance from Quinn Ewers, with 267 yards and three touchdowns, plus 130 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from Bijan Robinson. Ewers and backup Hudson Card threw touchdown passes to Ja’Tavion Sanders (two), Xavier Worthy and Keilan Robinson.

"There’s some layups we gotta make," Venables said. "You gotta make the plays that are there. We had some opportunites we didn’t take advantage of."

After a 31-point setback last week in Fort Worth, the Sooners have lost consecutive games by a total of 80 points. That’s the largest margin of defeat for OU in back-to-back games since 1997 (85) and the first time in school history they've surrendered back-to-back 30-point defeats.

In the series, OU’s biggest losses were 45-12 in 2005, 34-3 in 1998, 41-9 in 1970 and 40-7 in 1941. This one reached 42-0 with a minute left in the third quarter.

The Sooners hadn’t been shut out by the Longhorns in 57 years, a 19-0 loss in 1965.

Venables twice referenced the team being "tired" and needing to be "fresher." That's a problem this week with the 5-1 Jayhawks coming to town off their first loss of the season and still red hot despite almost winning again with a backup quarterback. At least the open date is coming up next week.

"Right now we’re not playing to our ability," Venables said. "That’s the most frustrating part. That’s coaching, to me. We gotta do a better job of helping our guys."