The Texas Longhorns needed to run the ball well against Oklahoma to have a chance at winning. The offensive line was up to the task.
The Red River Showdown came down to who could control the clock with the run game. The Texas Longhorns’ offensive line made sure it would win this battle.
There were many individual accolades to go around, but the offensive line deserves some love.
Texas rushed for 313 yards to Oklahoma’s 67. The Longhorns possessed the ball for close to 32 minutes, winning the crucial time of possession battle. Keeping the Sooner offense on the sidelines was one of the keys to the game for Texas. Oklahoma has a powerful offense and the last thing the Longhorns could afford was to lose the time of possession battle to the Sooners.
D’Onta Foreman ran for 117 yards on just nine carries. His 81-yard scamper on a sprint draw helped set up what proved to be the game-winning touchdown. Jerrod Heard did most of the heavy lifting by running for 115 yards on 21 carries. Oklahoma had a player spy on Heard, but the quarterback was able to still elude the Sooner defense. He had two big runs in the second half to keep Texas drives alive.
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None of this would have been possible had the offensive line not put together its best game of the season. Missing Kent Perkins for a second straight week had fans wondering how the line would hold up to Oklahoma’s big defensive line.
It did just fine. Heard was sacked just twice, and the line opened up holes for the backs to exploit. Even Jonathan Gray gained a respectable 76 yards rushing.
The offensive line has been much-maligned this season, and rightfully so. There have been few holes for the running backs to exploit and way too much pressure on the quarterbacks.
Saturday we watch this group – minus Perkins mind you – control the line of scrimmage for stretches of the game. This was the kind of effort you can build upon.
Foreman had nothing but praise for the job the big uglies did opening holes for him and the other backs.
“They did a wonderful job,” Foreman said after the game. “Just pushing them off the line and creating holes and separation for us to hit the hole.”
We know about the freshmen, Connor Williams and Patrick Vahe, but we haven’t had much to write home about with the seniors.
Taylor Doyle and Sedrick Flowers didn’t want to leave the Cotton Bowl on the losing end of this rivalry game. Both made sure the whole group made the necessary preparations to handle the Oklahoma defensive line, something Gray could attest to leading up to the game.
“Yeah, the offensive line worked hard this week,” said Gray. “To come out here, they knew what kind of [defensive] line OU was: physical, and they just strapped on their pads and went to work.”
Texas gets a week off to rest and recover. To beat Kansas State, the Longhorns are going to need the same kind of effort from the o-line it received on Saturday.
But at least for a week the o-line can bask in the limelight rather than sit in the fan’s doghouse.