Texas looking for answers after debacle in Dallas

Monday, October 9th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Texas coach Mack Brown blames himself for one of the most embarrassing defeats in Longhorns history.

His job now is to rebuild his team _ emotionally and physically _ after Saturday's 63-14 loss to rival Oklahoma in Dallas.

The game was billed as the revival of the Red River Shootout, a century-old regional battle that has been played by several teams that have gone on to win the national championship.

But only one team came out strong this time, and the Sooners' victory hurt Texas badly. The Longhorns' defeat ranks with the 66-3 loss at home to UCLA in 1997 as one of the worst for a school that started playing football in 1893.

The 1997 loss knocked Texas out of the AP Top 25. Voters took pity on the Longhorns this time, keeping Texas in the poll at No. 25. Texas went into both games ranked 11th.

``For a football team to play this badly, it's got to come back to me,'' Brown said after watching the game film on Sunday.

``Who knows why we would play that poorly? I've got to look at changes that will make a difference.''

Oklahoma so dominated Texas that the Sooners held a 42-0 lead in the second quarter. By halftime, the Sooners had more touchdowns (six) than the Longhorns had first downs (five).

Sooners quarterback Josh Heupel beat up on the Texas secondary for 275 yards and one touchdown. Oklahoma rushers pounded out 265 yards and seven scores.

And it could have been worse. With the score getting out of hand, the Sooners threw just 10 passes in the second half.

Oklahoma president David Boren was so happy he made the call from his booth at the game to cancel Monday classes.

``It doesn't get any worse than this,'' said Texas quarterback Chris Simms, who threw an interception that was returned for touchdown.

Brown must find some answers on offense. The rotating quarterback system with Simms and Major Applewhite was supposed to feature the one playing the best.

But with the wind blowing and a drizzle falling in the Cotton Bowl, both were cold enough to send shivers up any UT fan's spine. The pair completed 20 of 41 passes for 161 yards, with two interceptions and one touchdown.

Texas failed to score an offensive touchdown in the first quarter for the eighth straight game. The Texas running attack, which seemed to find itself with its first 100-yard rusher a week earlier, was held to minus 7 yards.

A bright spot? Try special teams. The Longhorns punted eight times without getting one blocked. It probably would have been more except that Oklahoma held onto the ball for 34 minutes and kept the Texas offense off the field.

``We'll definitely go back and look very closely at what we're doing,'' said Brown, who considered not showing his team the game film. ``I had to sit there and watch it, I think I'll make them watch it today.''

But as bad as it looked, Texas isn't necessarily out of the race for the Big 12 South division title.

The win bumped Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) up to No. 8, but the Sooners still play No. 2 Kansas State and No. 1 Nebraska in their next two games. Of the remaining conference foes on Texas' schedule, only Texas Tech and Texas A&M have winning records.

Any recovery will have to be quick. A week ago, the upcoming game at Colorado looked like a sure win. Now, after such a shocking loss and the Buffaloes' first victory at Texas A&M, nothing can be taken for granted.

``We're far from out of anything,'' Brown said. ``It was just a very, very poor performance. We've got to be tough.''