DALLAS — Tempers flared, flags flew and referee Mike Defee flexed his muscles, figuratively.
Oklahoma and Texas’ entire teams were issued an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty before Saturday’s game ever began, meaning if any player committed that infraction it would warrant an ejection.
Only Texas’ Malcolm Roach, who was called for targeting, wound up being ejected in OU’s 34-27 victory.
“We didn’t have to come in and talk about things that happened in pre-game,” OU safety Delarrin Turner-Yell said. “We just went out there and said we’re gonna play fast, play physical. So that’s exactly what we did.”
OU defensive end Ronnie Perkins called it nothing serious.
“It was fun. It's all in the rivalry. It's not really seriously. Just a little fun, get our blood going,” he said.
Defee, whose team of officials claims jurisdiction one hour before the game, wasn’t having as much fun. He gave the captains a stern talk-to during the coin toss, telling them play respectfully in the “greatest rivalry in college football.” He seemed agitated.
Defoe said he’s never issued a penalty before a game. Afterward he told pool reporter Ryan Sharp afterward that there was “jawing and pushing” but no punches were thrown that he saw. Defee took issue with both teams being allowed in the tunnel area around the same time, which makes it difficult for an eight-man crew to monitor. He wished the Cotton Bowl had provided more barriers.
As for his spirited coin toss speech:
“We've got two of the best teams in the country, let alone the Big 12 Conference. This is the 115th playing of this great game and to have that kind of thing happen is disappointing,” he said. “We can't control that as officials. The primary responsibility of the officials is two-fold outside of just the playing rules. One is player safety and two is the integrity of the game. What happened out there is an embarrassment to everyone. It shouldn't happen. At the end of the day, that's why we did what we did and issued a warning. Unfortunately you put that “U” and “S” on everybody and any action that results in an additional unsportsmanlike (conduct penalty) results in a disqualification.”
• Ealy, Swenson start: Left tackle Erik Swenson and right tackle Adrian Ealy were considered highly doubtful for the game, but both wound up starting.
Swenson, who missed the Kansas game, committed a false start penalty early on, but it was the only flag charged to the line all day.
Ealy hadn’t played in three consecutive games.
How’d they get ready so quick after Lincoln Riley’s pessimistic outlook earlier in the week? Turns out they weren’t 100 percent.
“They weren’t able to practice much, didn’t look real promising,” Riley said. “Able to do some walk-throughs at the end of the week. I mean, they weren’t healthy. They just gutted it out for us really.
“With limited practice, limited time to heal and rest, it was just a gutsy performance by those guys. It was certainly good to have them back.”
• Hurts lives it up: Jalen Hurts chalked it up to his teammates who helped OU overcome his two turnovers, one a fumble and another an interception.
But he seemed happy afterward, throwing on the Golden Hat and soaking in the Sooners’ win. He was asked how this game lived up to the Auburn-Alabama Iron Bowl.
“I figured that was coming,” Hurts said. “To each their own. Different environments. I don't know any other person who will be able to say they've gotten wins in both of those games. That's very special and that's a testament to my teammates here. I wouldn't rather do it with any other group.”
• Calcaterra sits: Grant Calcaterra didn’t suit up for unknown reasons. The tight end was having a quiet season statistically (5 catches, 79 yards), but started three of OU's five games.
He was also pivotal in the Sooners' last game against Texas, hauling in a one-handed catch that helped seal OU's win for the 2018 Big 12 championship.
• This, that: CeeDee Lamb went an eighth consecutive game with a touchdown pass. Per OU, that ties Mark Clayton (2003) for the second-longest streak in school history. … Defensive tackle Jordan Kelley dressed out. He had been feared out for the year after suffering an undisclosed injury in the preseason. … Neville Gallimore’s two sacks were a career high. … Running back Kennedy Brooks returned from missing one game and produced his first 100-yard game this season, with 105 yards.