‘I’d love to get another crack at these guys’: Texas coach Steve Sarkisian on loss to OU

Horns Report

DALLAS, Texas (KXAN) — The Cotton Bowl was again the site for a wild day of momentum swings between the Longhorns and Sooners Saturday. OU rallied from 18 down at the start of the second half for a 55-48 win over Texas to keep control of the Big 12.

For as good as the first half went for Texas, the second half of the Red River Showdown was abysmal. OU scored 35 second-half points as OU freshman quarterback Caleb Williams and running back Kennedy Brooks carved up a tired Texas defense. The Sooners gained 662 total yards of offense.

The Sooners defense was successful pressuring Casey Thompson in the second half as the Longhorns’ offense sputtered.

Here’s what Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said after the loss to the Sooners.

Opening Statement

“Obviously, hard-fought game. Give them a lot of credit for fighting their way back into the game and ultimately getting the lead. In the second half, we struggled to get first downs. They kept building on the momentum of it. I give our guys a ton of credit on the resolve to go down and score. They made the plays. The 50/50 balls…they came down with them. The run game kicked in for them. I wish we could’ve capitalized more offensively in the second half. Big picture, this will test our mettle. I love the heart and desire of our team and the mentality of our team, but this one hurts. We’re going to have pick ourselves back up and then go into the second half of the season. I’d love to get another crack at these guys, hopefully in December, so that’s that.”

On OU’s ability to get pressure on defense

“They have a really good defensive front. We felt we had a really good plan. They started to get more penetration up front defensively. In the first half, I thought we stabilized that but in the second…it started getting leaky. We were losing first-and-10…it was probably one of the keys offensively where we struggled.”

On Texas’ defensive struggles

“A lot of their plays…they made the change at quarterback. A lot of plays they were creating were on broken plays. The quarterback was able to extend plays. There was three 50/50 balls that got flung up in the air and they made the play. The other side of it is…they had the ball for 35 minutes. That’s a long time having those guys on the field. When these two teams get together, this is the story. The ball is going up and down on the field. Unfortunately, the one we had on the kickoff return was a costly one.”

On Kennedy Brooks’ big day and Texas’ issues stopping run

“He had a nice game. The run there at the end was a huge one. We lost our eyes a little bit at linebacker. The timing was a little bit different. They blocked it well. I don’t think it was a surprise it was coming. We just didn’t fit the run right…he found the end zone.”

What did Sarkisian learn about his team?

“We fought like crazy. We battled. I don’t know how many bang-bang plays. It wasn’t for effort. It wasn’t our guys completely blowing coverages. That effort and that resolve…we have to continue to build this program on. We’ll get better. In the short term, our mettle is going to get tested on how we can bounce back and it will be tested against a quality opponent.”

On inability to contain Brooks on direct snaps

“Three of the long runs came on the direct snap play. They definitely got a charge in the run game when they changed quarterbacks. I thought that slowed us down a little bit. When it went to a different style of game, we’ve got to make those adjustments in game when it happens.”

On Xavier Worthy’s performance and response after the fumble

“That’s totally what he’s capable of. This is what he’s capable of. This guy is a dynamic playmaker. That was a cool moment to bounce back from the fumble. The guy is a great player know, but his future is even brighter. We’re fortunate to have him.”

On Casey Thompson’s thumb injury

“Casey banged up his thumb but the trainers got him right and he felt good. Played a heckuva game.”

Did Sarkisian sense the momentum slipping away?

“They captured the momentum there late third…momentum when it mounts on you is to focus on the positive. You could kind of feel it and that’s where you’ve got to really execute it to swing that momentum back. It was a good learning lesson of where our mental state needs to go when you’re a type of game like this.”

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