The Texas Longhorns answered the call in the 2013 Red River Shootout, knocking off the No. 12 ranked Oklahoma Sooners 36-20, temporarily silencing the critics calling for Mack Brown’s head. In short, Texas held off Oklahoma but earned several victories, not just the one in the W column.
First, the 2010 recruiting class avoided history via the victory. Had Texas lost, the 2010 class would have been the only class in the history of the program to lose to the Sooners four consecutive times. Members of the class played a role in the win on Saturday, few in the spotlight, but impactful nonetheless.
Secondly, Texas moved to the top of the Big 12 Conference standings at 3-0 and is right in the mix with other undefeated teams like the Baylor Bears and Texas Tech Red Raiders in early competition for the conference crown. In spite of the rough Texas start which included losses to the BYU Cougars and Ole Miss Rebels, winning the Big 12 title was a stated goal of the coaching staff and appears to have been bought into by a Texas team that’s playing with a renewed sense of swagger, and even maybe a little bit of attitude– whether or not it is totally justified. Sometimes unjustified swagger is just as valuable.
Fake it til you make it.
Third, Texas wins a major recruiting victory in Dallas in front of a multitude of the state’s top talent which always is in attendance at the Red River Shootout. There’s little doubt that the winner of the RRS gets a slight recruiting edge on players that are on the fence between the two programs, especially those in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex which has traditionally be owned over the past few decades by the Crimson and Cream. The Texas 2014 class is shaping up and could be bolstered by a few recruits won over by the atmosphere bolstered by the Texas fan base and the heart which Texas played with.
Fourth, the Texas defense has shown a marked improvement over the course of time since new Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson replaced the fired Manny Diaz. Many across the country have panned Robinson for his lack of success as a head coach, but there’s little doubt he can operate well within a defensive scheme when given the time to learn his personnel and develop a game plan around them. Robinson will never be the dynamic name which many people want at Texas, but in a time of need, he can get the job done as long as people are patient. Robinson had a solid plan developed, and the Texas players executed it to perfection.
Overall, the Texas win over Oklahoma is proof that a team which believes it has the ability to play in big games can play well, and win, in big games if the right players rise to the occasion. Case McCoy — apart from a few late-game mistakes — played one of the best games of his career and solidified his interesting legacy as being a big-time big-game quarterback.
Johnathan Gray established himself, yet again, as one of the premier running backs in the Big 12, able to carry a team on his shoulders and establish pace through his own efforts. Malcolm Brown was no slouch either, showing the pop and swagger which made him a highly-sought after recruit a few years ago. New rising stars like Dalton Santos proved that the Texas defense has plenty to look forward to.
A Texas Big 12 Conference championship may still be a bit pie-in-the-sky, but the win over Oklahoma is proof that trying to predict what will happen from one Saturday to the next in the country’s heartland can often be an exercise in futility.
Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.