The Norman Transcript

January 5, 2013

Start of second half turns sour for Sooners

By John Shinn
The Norman Transcript

ARLINGTON, Texas — Only 15 minutes ran off the clock, but the time passed in much different ways for Oklahoma and Texas A&M. It was like 15 seconds of tranquility for the Aggies. Everything they tried worked to perfection. For Oklahoma, it was a nightmare that seemed like 15 years of agonizing futility.

It was the third quarter. It was when a one-point game erupted into 41-13 Sooner loss to Texas A&M in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic at Cowboys Stadium.

How lopsided was it?

It was like the novice skier against an avalanche. Texas A&M rolled downhill for 20 unanswered points. The Sooners were engulfed in the process.

“In the second half, it totally broke down offensively and defensively. Defense couldn’t get off the field,” said OU coach Bob Stoops after his bowl record dropped to 7-7 and his program’s three-year bowl winning streak was snapped.

“We had guys plenty of times in position to make a play. Couldn’t make a play. That’s just where we are. They totally outplayed us in every way.”

The Aggies were nothing like the team OU dominated during their 16 years as conference rivals. Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 229 and two more scores en route to offensive MVP honors.

“We couldn’t execute, much less do anything tonight,” OU defensive lineman David King said. “Johnny went out there and did everything that he has done all year. We had him contained and then all of a sudden he got away and makes a pinpoint throw.”

It was a showcase event for Manziel, but he wasn’t the only Aggie playing at a much higher level than the Sooners.

The battle between OU’s defensive line and Texas A&M’s offensive line could mildly be described as lopsided. Manziel had all the time he needed to throw and those rushing yards came on just 17 carries.

“We did the best that we could,” defensive tackle Casey Walker said. “You didn’t see much of us rushing up the field from a defensive standpoint. Shoot, what can you say? There’s a reason why this guy won the Heisman.”

Manziel’s margin in the voting would have doubled if the voting were held Friday night.

Landry Jones, who made his 50th and final career start Friday night, threw for 278 yards and a 6-yard touchdown pass to Justin Brown late in the second quarter at least gave the impression the Sooners had a chance.

It quickly ended in the third quarter. Manziel engineered three straight touchdown drives. OU didn’t get a first down until late in the third quarter.

By the time it did, the “Aggie War Hymn” was reaching a deafening level, followed by “S-E-C” chants.

Obviously a lot had changed since the last time OU and Texas A&M played. Just 13 months ago, OU rolled to a 16-point victory over the Aggies in their last meeting as conference rivals. It was OU’s eighth win in its last nine meetings against them.

History didn’t matter as 88,175 mostly maroon clad fans crammed in Cowboys Stadium.

“Came and played one of best games all year,” Manziel said.

OU gave up 633 total yards as the Aggies became the sixth opponent to rush for at least 200 yards. Texas A&M (11-2) finished with 326 on the ground with running backs Ben Melena and Trey Williams both accounting for rushing touchdowns. Most of it came in the second half.

The Sooners, who finished the season at 10-3, had a chance to break the game open in the first half. The Aggies only led 14-13 at the intermission because OU did a masterful job keeping Manziel on the sideline. It put together scoring drives of 16, 18 and 13 plays. The last was Jones’ touchdown pass to Brown. However, the previous ended in field goals of 23 and 24 yards by Michael Hunnicutt.

“We got inside the 10-yard line and we didn’t score twice. We scored two field goals,” Jones said.

They would have gladly accepted those field goals in the second half. OU punted on its three opening possessions of the third quarter. It never came close to getting in the end zone in the second half.

Jones finished the night 35 for 48, but his longest pass was 19 yards. The Aggies kept OU’s receivers in front of them. OU finished with 401 yards, but just 142 came in the second half.

“When you do that, you can’t expect to win a game,” Jones said. “I wish we were better tonight, but that’s the way it was.”

John ShinnFollow me @john_shinnjshinn@normantranscript.com

 

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