Strong Plays the Weatherman, Texas Stomps Oklahoma State 28-7

“They thought it was cold,” Coach Charlie Strong said after Texas handled Oklahoma State easily, beating the Cowboys 28-7 in Stillwater. “I told them it wasn’t cold.” Strong then instructed the players to remove their long sleeves, compression pants, and hand-warming pouches.

It was cold—a brisk 44 degrees—but at this point in the season, being bowl-eligible after such a slow start, maybe we should all believe whatever Strong says.

On August 15, back when it really wasn’t cold, Longhorns had high hopes for this season—perhaps a Big 12 title and a prestigious bowl game. By mid-October, it looked like a disastrous four-win season was ahead. As it turns out, the reality is neither. With an inherited roster from the prior regime for Strong in his first season at Texas, six wins with one game to play is kind of … encouraging.

The team is rolling now. After a 3-5 start, replete with demoralizing losses, Texas has now won three in a row, two of those against formidable opponents in West Virginia and Oklahoma State. On Saturday night, Texas struck first—on a perfect pass from Tyrone Swoopes to John Harris in the corner of the end zone—and never looked back.

Aside from some more shaky special teams play—some questionable kick coverage, a badly shanked 31-yarder, and two failed PATs—both the offense and defense showed up for the game. When this happens, Texas is a dangerous team. Texas had 24 first downs, OSU, 9. Texas RBs ran for 125 yards, OSU’s 34. Swoopes threw for 305 yards, OSU’s Daxx Garman a measly 158 and an interception. The defense notched seven sacks and forced two turnovers, and the aforementioned stingy run defense smothered the Cowboys’ gameplan. It should be mentioned, that while kicker Nick Rose missed an easy FG, he did hit three other crucial kicks, including a 51-yard try in the second quarter.

Swoopes also looked as polished as he has all season, hitting Harris for the first score and Armanti Foreman for the final one in the fourth quarter. Harris created separation from coverage, and Swoopes hit the freshman wideout in stride for a 45-yard touchdown. Earlier in the season, Swoopes wouldn’t make that throw, but he’s making it look easy now, leading his receivers and throwing to the correct shoulder on fade routes automatically. The arm has always been there, but the reading of the defense and proper decision making has made all the difference for Swoopes in the last three games since Kansas State shut out Texas on October 25. Since then, with a big push from the running game, the Longhorns have scored 34, 33, and 28 points in succession, while holding opponents to 36 total points across those three games.

After the 21-point victory, the Longhorns are now the owners of a 6-5 record, bowl eligibility, a chance to finish with a winning season, and a whole lot to look forward to next year. Next up, TCU at home on Thanksgiving. Here are some highlights from Saturday night:

Photo courtesy UT Athletics. 

Editor’s note: the original version of this article named Longhorn wideout “Armanti Harris.” It has been corrected to read “Armanti Foreman.”


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