(Photo by Jay Beauchamp)
By Michael Kinney
The 113th meeting of Oklahoma and Texas is on tap for Saturday in Dallas. Despite the success of Oklahoma since the start of the Bob Stoops era, the Longhorns still lead the series 61-46-5.
However, since 2000, the Sooners have won 12 of the 18 matchups.
The rivalry is one Lee Morris knows very well. As a native of Allen, Texas, a suburb just outside Dallas, the 6-2, 212-pound wide receiver is well acquainted with the rivalry that goes into the intense matchup each year.
“I always loved this game,” Morris said. “Especially growing up in Texas, being one of the few OU fans, getting a lot of crap from the Texas fans, you look forward to winning those games. The atmosphere, there is nothing like it. You have half the stadium burnt orange and half the stadium in crimson and cream. And they are both shouting at each other all day. There’s nothing like it.”
There are 38 players from the LoneStar state on the Sooners’ roster. But Morris has special insight into the game with his father, Lee Morris Jr., playing for Oklahoma in the mid-1980s.
“He’s talked about it before,” Morris said. “It was a little different back then. He talked about all the experiences he had, playing back then with all his teammates. My mom coming to watch him, my grandparents all there to support him and just making big-time plays.”
As a freshman wide receiver, CeeDee Lamb was told the OU-Texas game was going to be different than anything he had ever experienced. He didn’t quite believe what he was being told.
“The atmosphere is very much different,” Lamb said. “My freshman year, my coaches emphasized it would be a different atmosphere. Me being a freshman, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m just like I’m going to treat it like another game. Going in for pre-game warmups, it was not no regular game. I felt it as soon as I walked out onto the field. It starts with the bus ride in. You feel the energy in the air.”
During the 2017 game, Lamb caught three passes for 74 yards to help the Sooners win 29-24. The Longhorns should see a different player this year just because he is healthy this time around.
“It was crazy. We were talking about it today at practice, last year I couldn’t even play to my full potential because I had the shoulder injury, just coming off of it,” Lamb said. “Now I can go in all 100 percent with no worries.”
Saturday will be the first Red River Rivalry game for assistant coach Shane Beamer. He has coached at several different spots, but has always kept an eye on the uniqueness of the Red River Shootout.
“I watched it on TV for years,” Beamer said. “I’ve always wanted to go. I was at Virginia Tech a few years ago and we had an off week the weekend of this game. I told my wife that I’ve always wanted to go, so let’s go to Dallas for the weekend and just be a part of it. She said ‘No, I only want to go if you’re coaching in it.’ Funny how things work out. I’m excited to be a part of it. I haven’t been a part of this, so it’s pretty hard to say, but it’s obvious there is something different about this one. Playing in a major city in a historic stadium that’s right in the middle of both campuses. There’s a lot of unique things about it.”
Through five games the Longhorns are allowing opponents to score just under 20 points a game on them. They give up 115 yards rushing and 218 yards passing.
However, the Sooners will be the best offense they have faced this season.
“Texas is a very good football team as a whole. Their defense is one of the top defenses in the Big 12, one of the tops in the nation. In the top 20 or 30 nationally in total defense,” Boulware said. “They are really nasty against the run up front. They do a great job. Their front seven and their secondary is really athletic and is physical, explosive guys who can hit. They have a good mixture of younger and older guys who do a great job for them. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for our team.”
Lamb knows the Sooners will have their hands full again this year.
“They are very physical,” Lamb said. “They are a very physical group. They do what they’re told. They play within the game. They just do their job. We have to play as a team, we have to stay focused and we have to play together. Texas is a great team and they’re going to come with everything they have and we have to do everything in our will to overcome that and just come out with a win.”
Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week
Quarterback Kyler Murray earned his third Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week award in only five weeks of action after accounting for seven touchdowns and 477 total yards in the Sooners 66-33 victory over Baylor.
“I knew he would be good, but not this good,” Lamb said. “The man is incredible. I don’t think there is no stopping him. Many people would doubt Kyler because he is short and he’s obviously not Baker. But now that they see him doing great, and he has Baker tendencies sometimes, he’s on everybody’s high end. I knew it from the start that he would come in and be a great leader for us.”
Story ran in the Yukon Review
Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider