Texas plays its best football in October
The Oklahoma Sooners behind them, Texas players say it’s time to get on with their season.
The No. 3 Longhorns have been very good at that in recent years.
The Red River Rivalry may be the most emotional and physically challenging game they play every season, but the Longhorns have avoided the post-big game letdown that hits other teams. Texas hasn’t lost the week after the Oklahoma game since 1997, former coach John Mackovic’s last season in Austin.
“Beating Oklahoma doesn’t get you three wins. It’s just one. Each game gets bigger from here,” defensive tackle Sam Acho said. “We know that.”
Texas (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) travels to Missouri on Saturday before a Halloween night game at No. 14 Oklahoma State.
October has been coach Mack Brown’s best month in recent years. Texas has beaten Oklahoma four of the last five years and kept the emotions rolling. Texas has won at least four straight games after the Dallas game in nine of the last 10 years
“That’s a huge game for these kids. That game is important to us,” Brown said.
November is usually when Texas stumbles. Two losses to end the regular season in 2006 knocked the Longhorns out of the Big 12 title game. Last season’s Nov. 1 loss at Texas Tech was their only blemish on the season but still kept them from playing for the league title.
Texas’ road to a title would appear easier than last season when the Longhorns faced three straight games against teams ranked No. 11 or higher. They won two.
Missouri (4-2, 0-2) has lost two straight. Oklahoma State’s best player, wide receiver Dez Bryant is currently ineligible but fighting to get back on the field. After those two games, Texas plays Central Florida, Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M.
Unlike last season, when Texas jumped to big early leads, the Longhorns have been slow to get started in several games. Against Missouri last season, Texas had the game won by halftime after jumping out to a 35-3 lead.
This season, Texas has been held without an offensive touchdown in the first half of two games. Four times, Texas has scored 10 points or less in the first half. Quarterback Colt McCoy had his worst game of the season against the Sooners. The NCAA record holder for single-season passing percentage, McCoy was 21 of 40 for 127 yards.
“We are not starting well. I can’t figure it out,” Brown said.
The Texas defense turned in a dominant performance against Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to minus-16 yards rushing. Texas ranks No. 1 against the run, giving up just 35 yards per game, and has given up just one touchdown.
The Longhorns had perhaps their biggest stand against the Sooners on the first drive, holding Oklahoma to a field goal after the Sooners had a first down inside the Texas 10.
“For them to get all the way there and get just three points? That’s a win in my book,” Texas defensive end Sergio Kindle said.