Ash’s Red River Rivalry debut doesn’t go as planned

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Running back Fozzy Whittaker carries the ball against Oklahoma where he had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. That score cut the Sooner’s lead to 27-10.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Peart | Daily Texan Staff

Ash struggles in first OU game

Both Texas quarterbacks committed two costly turnovers, but Case McCoy’s were fumbles that could have been avoided with better pass protection while each of David Ash’s two interceptions were his fault. This time last year, Ash was playing high school football against athletes far inferior to the ones he faced Saturday.

That might explain why Ash was sacked four times, twice by senior defensive end Frank Alexander. It seemed as if the speed of Oklahoma’s defense took him by surprise on occasion, either when a Sooners defensive back darted in front of one of his throws or when someone ran him down from behind. When asked what he needs to improve the most, Ash responded, “decision making.”

“It’s a good time to look back and say, ‘This is where we are,’” Ash said. “Make no mistake, I think we’re still a very, very good football team, but we still have a long way to go. We’re going to get there.”

Turnover table turned on Texas

The Longhorns used early takeaways to pounce on opponents in their last two games, taking 21-0 and 34-0 first-half leads over UCLA and Iowa State. But the Sooners were the ones that forced turnovers, both early and often, and put Texas in a 27-3 hole in the second quarter.

Both of McCoy’s turnovers were committed in the first half while the first of Ash’s two interceptions was thrown in the second quarter and returned 55 yards for a touchdown by junior defensive back Demontre Hurst. While Oklahoma’s defense scored three touchdowns before the end of the third quarter, the Texas offense didn’t find the end zone until Ash’s four-yard touchdown pass with 2:31 left in the fourth.

“We just gave up 21 points,” head coach Mack Brown said.

“You can’t have five turnovers and three of them go for touchdowns.”

Fozzy plays well in losing effort

The plays Fozzy Whittaker touched the ball were some of the few that went well for Texas. The senior running back carried the ball six times for 45 yards, a 15-yard catch in the first quarter, and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second.

Fellow running backs Malcolm Brown (17 carries, 54 yards) and D.J. Monroe (three carries, 23 yards) also had solid showings. While Brown has led Texas in carries and yards in each of its first four games, Whittaker is making a statement that he deserves plenty of touches as well. Despite his impressive performance, however, the Longhorns did not have a productive day offensively.
“They came out here ready to play,” Whittaker said. “You have to give them credit for doing what they do best.”

Third downs swung momentum

Texas entered Saturday allowing teams to convert only 26 percent of third down plays. But Oklahoma was 8-for-15 on third down, including a 30-yard pass on third-and-25 in the second quarter.

Sooners quarterback Landry Jones hit Ryan Broyles for a five-yard score on the next set of downs, fittingly on third-and-goal. Jones completed seven of 10 passes for 93 yards on third down against Texas.

“When you get to third-and-25, you have to win,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said. “When we got them in third-and-long, when we got them in some favorable situations for us, sometimes by penalties and sometimes by just what we did on third down, we let them off the hook. I don’t think we played as well as we possibly could.”

Printed on October 10, 2011: Press box observations: Texas has room to improve