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On the next play, Rob Moerschell coolly handled a high snap and placed it, and Ward tied the game with a strong, true kick as time ran out.
Switzer raced off the field, pausing only to give the officials the rough side of his tongue. The Sooner players hollered insults at the Longhorns for choosing a field goal and a tie, rather than trying one more pass for the win. Had the situation been reversed, Switzer would almost surely have done the same. Anyone watching the Texas offense sputter and cough all day had to figure its chances of making 15 yards on a single play on an almost submerged field were nonexistent.
The Longhorns weren't all that thrilled with the draw, either, and more than one chair got booted over as they filed into the dressing room. But Akers, towel over his left shoulder and cap pushed back, leaped up on a table and shouted, "Man, the dad-blamed conditions were miserable. But you came back, and the fact is, we're still undefeated. Those people thought they had themselves a big, big upset. But you guys are getting ready to become deadly. We're a fighting bunch of folks. I know it was a tie, and we wanted to win. But under the circumstances, aren't you glad you tied?" Suddenly, everyone felt better.
They'll feel a whole lot better if they can come up with a better running game. Against OU it was unacceptable. Even on a wet field, 96 yards rushing isn't worthy of a national champ. Of course, if the Longhorns keep getting 96 yards rushing, they won't be national champs.
But the defense, despite yielding more yards per game this season (283.8) than a typical Texas unit, is solid. Defensive coordinator David McWilliams is doing a masterful job despite a big talent drain after last season—of 18 Longhorns drafted by the pros last spring, eight were defensive starters. Happily for Texas, while the offense works to get better and the defense matures, Ward and punter Teltschik, who kicked eight times against Oklahoma for an average of 46.1 yards, are keeping the Longhorns out of trouble.
At Oklahoma the situation is more complex. Switzer's record against Texas over the last five years is 1-3-1. Not good. While both coaches like to say their conference games are much more important, the truth is that this one is the biggest of the year for both schools, largely because it has such an impact on recruits. A defeat one year may result in a team of lower quality three or four years down the road.
And after too many years when both the academic and athletic emphasis at Norman was lackadaisical under Switzer, he's again toeing the line. Not having his contract extended last year by the regents, as had been routinely done, may have helped motivate him. Whatever the reason, Switzer is more subdued and far more diligent. Players are showing up on time for meetings and showing up, period, for classes. That may not seem like a big deal, but at Oklahoma it is.
Switzer deserves credit for making a serious move to right the Good Ship Sooner, but he needed a victory Saturday to put on some real speed. A disgusted Oklahoma linebacker, Paul Migliazzo, insisted, "By all rights, we won the game. Obviously, they aren't No. 1." Migliazzo may be twice wrong. Better that he and his buddies think in terms of big hearts and total dedication. For inspiration, they could look to the Longhorns.