DALLAS (AP) — Quinn Ewers never really considered whether he would be rusty after missing the last three games for Texas because of a collarbone injury that took him out against the nation's top-ranked team.
The standout freshman quarterback was just ready to play against the Longhorns' biggest rival — in what became an unprecedented romp over suddenly reeling Oklahoma.
“When coach told me, what was going through my mind was, ‘It’s time to go.’ That’s pretty much it,” Ewers said. “Growing up a fan, I always wanted to play in this one, so it’s pretty special.”
Ewers threw for 289 yards and four touchdowns in his return, Bijan Robinson ran for 130 yards with two TDs and the Longhorns handed Oklahoma its most-lopsided shutout loss ever, 49-0 on Saturday. It was the first meeting between the Red River rivals since 1998 with neither ranked, and the highest-scoring game for Texas in the 118-game series that dates to 1900.
The defense for the Longhorns (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) was pretty good too.
"It’s a tribute to these guys," coach Steve Sarkisian said, patting big linebacker DeMarvion Overshown sitting next to him. “What a moment. It’s something they can carry with them. These guys, we’ve been playing good defense all year. We really have. I hate it that one half of a game all of a sudden defines who we were a couple of weeks ago.”
While Ewers was back, the Sooners (3-3, 0-3) were without starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who didn’t play a week after getting hit in the head and knocked out of the TCU game with a concussion. Pitt transfer Davis Beville got the start, but Oklahoma opted for numerous wildcat plays without the quarterback and finished with only 39 yards passing and 195 overall.
The 92,100-seat Cotton Bowl Stadium was full for the start of the annual meeting at the State Fair of Texas, with fans in crimson and burnt orange split at the 50-yard line as usual. The Sooners side was emptying long before the game ended, and Texas fans stayed to relish every moment as they the Golden Hat trophy back for the first time since 2018.
“Coming to Texas, you circle this game on your calendar each year.” Overshown said. “ Not being able to (put) that hat on... it’s heartbreaking. But leaving with it this year, you’re never going to forget that.”
After a 3-0 start with new coach Brent Venables, Oklahoma has its first three-game losing streak since 1998. The Sooners lost five in a row that season, including an 0-4 start in Big 12 play before a 29-0 loss to Texas A&M that was their last shutout until Saturday. Their largest shutout loss had been 47-0 to Oklahoma State in 1945.
“Shock? Nothing shocks me. This game will punish you when you don’t do all kinds of different things, whether it’s coaching or playing,” Venables said. “Our group of guys have been incredibly committed to what we’ve asked them to do. Maybe one of those factors if we need to be fresher. Look at everything.”
Ewers completed 14 of his first 16 passes and finished 21 of 31 in his first action since getting hurt in the first quarter four weeks ago against No. 1 Alabama, which held on for a 20-19 win. The strong-armed quarterback from nearby Southlake, who spent last season at Ohio State, was 9 of 12 for 134 yards against the Crimson Tide before his early exit that put 2021 starter Hudson Card back under center even as he was dealing with an ankle injury.
A week after that, the Longhorns had a two-touchdown lead in the second half at Texas Tech before losing in overtime.
“Every week was kind of a little bit of a juggling act,” Sarkisian said “The hardest part about not playing quarterback is not the physical part. It’s the mental part. It’s the nuances in our system. We change tempos quite a bit. We huddle, we shift, we motion. We do a lot of different things that don’t seem like much outside, but in our world they’re big deals.”
Both Ewers and Card were feeling better this week, though it wasn't until Thursday afternoon that Sarkisian told them who was starting.
Texas had two 90-yard scoring drives in the first quarter, capped by Robinson’s 2-yard run and Xavier Worthy’s 10-yard catch. In between those touchdowns, Oklahoma converted a fake field goal, only to get stopped on fourth-and-2 inside the 10 four plays later
Texas: The Longhorns had a balanced 585 total yards of offense, with 289 passing and 296 rushing. A year after building a 28-7 lead in the first quarter against Oklahoma before losing 55-48 in the highest-scoring game in the series, Texas went ahead 21-0 on Keilan Robinson's 15-yard TD catch midway through the second quarter, and added on from there.
“I hate to dwell on last year, but we felt like we let one get away last year,” Sarkisian said. “In the end, we played a really complete football game.”
Oklahoma: Without Gabriel, Oklahoma opted for a lot of direct snaps to running back Eric Gray or tight end Brayden Willis. The Sooners averaged 5.8 yards per carry before halftime, and still trailed 28-0. Along with the fourth-down stop inside the 10, they were driving late in the second quarter when Gray took a direct snap from the 20, ran forward a few steps and then threw a jump pass right to Texas’ Jahdae Barron.
ONE MORE ALL-TIME
Texas and Oklahoma, who are both moving into the Southeastern Conference no later than the 2025 season, entered their latest Red River rivalry game with 931 all-time wins. The Longhorns now have 932. The only programs with more wins are Michigan, Alabama and Ohio State.
Texas hosts Iowa State next Saturday.
Oklahoma is home against No. 19 Kansas next Saturday.
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