How Sarkisian would have handled goal line stand vs. OU differently

AUSTIN (KXAN) – In Texas’ 34-30 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday in the Red River Rivalry, a couple of key momentum swings seemed to decide the game. The Longhorns held the lead late but ultimately suffered their first loss of the year.

The Sooners drove down the field to score the game-winning touchdown with 1:17 left in the game with no timeouts. That, along with a defensive stand for Oklahoma, are the two moments that are pointed to in hindsight where the Sooners won.

The stand came early in the fourth quarter when the Longhorns had first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Three rushes from Jonathon Brooks brought a fourth and goal where Quinn Ewers completed a pass to Xavier Worthy but was stopped before reaching the goal line.

The stop gave Oklahoma the ball back up seven points with 11:30 left in the game. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian met with the media Monday and broke down the sequence and talked about what he may have changed if given the opportunity.

First Down

After a long completion to Jordan Whittington to set up Texas one yard out from the end zone, the Longhorns gave the ball to Brooks in hopes of finishing off the drive. Oklahoma’s Kip Lewis quickly stuffed Brooks for no gain.

“[Oklahoma’s] kid makes a really nice play,” said Sarkisian. “He kind of shoots the gap into Jonathon Brooks’ legs.”

Second Down

Texas again went back to Brooks on second down but this time with a pitch. The Sooners gang tackled the junior with Lewis and Dasan McCullough leading the way.

“That was the sequencing of those two calls I knew I was going to go with there,” Sarkisian said. “We just don’t get enough of the edge and we get the ball down to the one again.”

Third Down

Oklahoma started to gain momentum after two stops and capitalized on third down. Brooks rushed for the third time and lost a yard which set up fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line.

“Call it stubborn, whatever it was. I went back to the first down call on third down. And obviously, not effective enough,” Sarkisian said. “I’d love for us to execute it a little bit better than we did.”

Fourth Down

This is where things got interesting. Instead of electing to kick a field goal to cut the deficit to 27-23, Sarkisian went for it with a quick slant to Worthy. The pass from Quinn Ewers was completed, but Billy Bowman and others stopped Worthy right before reaching the end zone.

“Quite frankly if I could do it all over again, I would have changed the third down call,” Sarkisian said. “I may have ran what I ran on fourth down on third down … I probably would have done that on third down and gone to something a little bit different on fourth down.”

The Longhorns kept Oklahoma off the board on the ensuing drive and were able to grab the lead late, but that missed opportunity could have changed things down the stretch in a back-and-forth game.

The Longhorns have a bye this week and get back in action at 3 p.m., Oct. 21 at Houston.

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