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With the Texas offense foundering this fall, Longhorn fans must be wondering: Steve Clements, are you watching? Do you regret your decision?
A Parade All-American in 1989, Clements threw for 8,204 yards at Huntsville (Texas) High. When he joined the Longhorns in the fall of '90, he was considered their quarterback of the future. In mid-July, frustrated at being listed behind Saxton on the depth chart, Clements transferred to Brigham Young. Were Clements still at Texas, it is highly likely that he would be beginning a career as a three-year starter. At BYU he is ineligible this season and will enter spring practice far down on the depth chart.
Against the Sooners, Gardere finished with 11 completions in 24 attempts; Gundy was 5 for 17. Each threw an ugly interception. Montana versus Marino this was not. In the first half, however, Oklahoma moved the ball well on the ground with a mixture of traps and options. The wheels fell off the Sooner Schooner after intermission. Oklahoma's eight second-half possessions resulted in six punts, McKinley's fumble and the loss of the ball on downs with 28 seconds remaining.
This sorry performance was largely the result of a halftime meeting of Texas's defensive backs. Having feared getting burned by play-action passes in the first half, the Longhorn cornerbacks and safeties had been cautious in providing run support. Too cautious, they decided in their meeting. The Sooner offensive linemen were tipping their hands. "If it was a run, they'd fire out real hard," said cornerback Mark Berry after the game. "If it was a pass, they stood straight up. Watching them told us exactly what to do."
Moreover, the Sooners grew tired in the second half. In lopsided victories over North Texas, Utah State, Virginia Tech and Iowa State, Gibbs had been able to rest his starters early. Two of Texas's games, on the other hand, had not been decided until the final minute. Nowhere was the conditioning gap more glaring than it was between the Longhorn defensive linemen and the Sooner offensive linemen. "We just kept pounding them," said Patton. "After a while they started wearing down."
Once Texas went ahead on Jacques' touchdown, Gundy had to start throwing. And Patton, Dronett, tackle Tommy Jeter and end Bo Robinson—who make up one of the nation's top defensive lines—knew it. They teed off on the linemen across from them to good effect: Gundy was sacked six times, all in the second half. "They didn't overmatch us," said Gundy, who had an eight-inch scratch across the middle of his back as evidence that at least one Longhorn had used it for a manicure. "We just had some breakdowns."
Outside the dressing room, Gibbs doggedly downplayed the significance of the loss. "We've got Colorado coming up [on Saturday]," he said. "We'll put this behind us and focus on winning the Big Eight championship."
It's a speech Gibbs has down pat—this is the third straight season he has delivered it. Two years ago his Sooners were 17-point favorites against Texas, but Gardere, in his second start, threw a touch-down pass to Johnny Walker with 1:33 left to give Texas a 28-24 victory. Oklahoma, which was favored by eight points last season, lost 14-13 after a gust of wind sent R.D. Lashar's 46-yard field goal attempt with no time remaining wide to the left by less than the length of Bevo's horn-spread. "We should have scored 40 on them," said Sooner fullback Kenyon Rasheed after that disappointment.
Snakebit Oklahoma was even less inclined to congratulate the Longhorns after this year's loss. "They beat the better learn today." said Sooner split end Corey Warren. "We played better, things just went their way."
"We played better," said Oklahoma linebacker Joe Bowden, a senior who saw his sensational, 15-tackle effort go for naught. "What else do we have to do to win? We play hard, execute and do what the coaches tell us. What else do we have to do?"