Turnovers plague Longhorns

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DALLAS — After going two games without a turnover, the Longhorns had more than two games’ worth at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.

Texas turned the ball over five times, including three fumbles and two interceptions, during a 55-17 dismantling at the hands of No. 3 Oklahoma.

The Sooners capitalized on the Texas miscues, returning two fumbles and one pick for scores — a school record for defensive touchdowns in a single game. In all, the OU defense put more points on the board than the entire Texas team.

“I don’t think I’ve seen that in many years,” said Longhorns head coach Mack Brown.

In a rivalry game of this magnitude against a unit with legitimate National Championship aspirations, turnovers can kill a team. On Saturday, the Longhorns learned the hard way.

“I know with five turnovers, it’s not going to be a pretty ball game,” said co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin.

The Longhorns two-quarterback system produced four of the five giveaways.

“We had too many turnovers at quarterback, and you just can’t do that,” Brown said. “Can’t have five turnovers and win games.”

Starting quarterback Case McCoy lost a fumble to end the Longhorns first possession, leading to an OU field goal.

To start the second quarter, freshman QB David Ash threw his first interception of his career. The Sooners later converted that into seven points.

Ash threw his second pick three possessions later. Instead of throwing the ball away, he forced a pass down the sidelines. OU safety Demontre Hurst stepped in front of the pass and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown.

“I should have thrown that one out of bounds because they had it covered,” Ash said. “I didn’t see that safety creeping in the background, and he made a great play. I just can’t do that.”

The second half didn’t provide Texas with any relief from the mistakes.

Ash fumbled 85 seconds into the third quarter, and Sooners defensive end David King scooped up the loose ball and promptly returned it 19 yards to extend the OU lead to 41-10.

If that was bad, Mike Davis’ fumble was worse.

The sophomore receiver caught an eight-yard pass, then had the ball ripped out of his hands by OU corner Jamell Fleming. The junior quickly gathered the ball and weaved his way 55 yards for OU’s final touchdown.

“He was holding it loosely so I was able to rip it out,” Fleming said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a defense that outscored the opposing offense.”

Brown said his squad needed to win the turnover ratio, penalty yards, third down conversion rate and red zone efficiency to leave the Cotton Bowl with a victory.

“I’m not sure we won any of them,” Brown said. “I think we lost all of them.”

Printed on October 10, 2011 as: Fumbles, interceptions plague team