No. 11 Sooners hang on to beat Texas

Dallas, TX ( – It took more than two quarters for Oklahoma
to score an offensive touchdown against Texas on Saturday.

Despite that, the Sooners only trailed for 12 seconds.

That’s how long Alex Ross needed to return a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown
in the first quarter to put the No. 11 Sooners on top for good.

Zack Sanchez added a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first
half and Oklahoma held on down the stretch for a 31-26 win over Texas at the
Cotton Bowl.

The Sooners (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) bounced back from last week’s loss at TCU to
win the Red River rivalry game for the fourth time in five years, the only
blemish being last season’s 16-point loss to an underdog Longhorns squad.

The Longhorns (2-4, 1-2) cut a 31-13 deficit to five points on quarterback
Tyrone Swoopes’ 12-yard touchdown with five minutes left, but blew a timeout
on the two-point conversion try, which failed, and only had one left on
Oklahoma’s last drive.

The Sooners burned all but 18 seconds of the remaining time before punting.

Oklahoma fell seven spots in the Associated Press poll following last week’s
37-33 loss in Fort Worth and didn’t have an offensive touchdown against Texas
until Trevor Knight threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with
4:17 left in the third quarter.

Knight passed for 129 yards and Samaje Perine had a 13-yard touchdown run that
gave the Sooners their 31-13 lead with 12:50 remaining.

Swoopes completed 26 of his 43 passes for 308 yards and a pair of touchdown
throws to John Harris, but the Longhorns committed 11 penalties for 85 yards
— most of them coming early on.

Nick Rose kicked two field goals for the Longhorns, including a 28-yarder on
their first possession, and was the only player with a shot to tackle Ross on
the ensuing kickoff. He went for the legs and barely slowed him down.

Ross, the nation’s leading kickoff returner, was otherwise untouched after
fielding the ball on the right side and cutting through the middle of the
porous Texas coverage for his second return touchdown of the season.

Texas had seven penalties by the first play of the second quarter. One of them
— a hold on Harris — allowed Swoopes to get free for a lumbering 73-yard run
that was called back late in the first quarter.

After Michael Hunnicutt kicked a 44-yard field goal for Oklahoma, Sanchez
stepped in front of Jacorey Warrick near the right sideline to intercept
Swoopes and cut through the middle of the field for a touchdown to give the
Sooners a 17-3 lead.

Texas pulled within 17-13 before halftime on Swoopes’ 38-yard touchdown pass
to Harris over the middle and Rose’s 20-yard field goal.

The first six drives in the third quarter ended in punts before Knight found
Shepard open between two defenders for a 24-yard touchdown pass to give the
Sooners a 24-13 lead.

Texas avoided a disaster after punter William Russ let a high snap go through
his hands toward the end zone. Russ got off a 25-yard kick to midfield and the
Sooners didn’t score.

Later, after Perine’s touchdown, Texas responded by going 75 yards, much of it
taken up by Marcus Johnson’s 41-yard reception. An initial touchdown was
called back because of an illegal formation penalty, but Harris made a toe-
dragging catch in the left side of the end zone on Swoopes’ 6-yard pass.

Swoopes’ 12-yard run around the left drew Texas within five points with 4:57
left, but the quarterback was stopped on a two-point conversion try that came
after the Longhorns blew a timeout when they couldn’t get to the line in time.

Game Notes

Harris had five receptions for 90 yards while Johnson (seven catches) and
Jaxon Shipley (eight) each had 93 yards receiving. Texas’ Malcolm Brown led
all players with 78 yards rushing on 19 carries and Perine had 62 yards on 18
runs … Oklahoma faces Kansas State next week and Texas plays Iowa State.