Sooners Can't Hold On Against No. 23 Texas

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma
OCTOBER 09, 1999

Oct. 9, 1999

Game Stats
Postgame Notes

Head Coach Bob Stoops
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AP Sports Writer

DALLAS (AP) - Call this one a major comeback for Texas and a huge letdown for Oklahoma.

Major Applewhite passed for three touchdowns and Hodges Mitchell rushed for 204 yards and a TD as the 23rd-ranked Longhorns rallied from a 17-point, first-quarter deficit to beat Oklahoma 38-28 Saturday.

It was the largest come-from-behind victory for Texas (5-2, 2-1 Big 12) since a similar rally to beat Texas A&M 21-17 in 1965.

"We really came through today," said Texas coach Mack Brown. "There's a defining point in every season and this can be it for us."

After turning the ball over six times in a 35-17 loss to Kansas State a week earlier, Applewhite stood in against a tough Oklahoma pass rush to complete 22 of 47 passes for 328 yards without an interception and no fumbles.

"It was really physical. This one really meant a lot to me," Applewhite said.

His third touchdown pass, an 18-yarder to Ryan Nunez, capped a 99-yard fourth-quarter drive for the final touchdown with 8:16 left to play.

That score killed any momentum Oklahoma (3-2, 1-1) had gained after Sooners kicker Tim Duncan scored a touchdown on a fake field goal that pulled the Sooners within 31-28.

Mitchell started the Texas drive with a 35-yard run on first down that got the Longhorns off their goal line.

"Hodges gave us an excellent spark today," Brown said. "That was a huge drive and it really put the game away for us."

It was the second time in as many weeks the Sooners let an opponent rally to win. Oklahoma led Notre Dame 30-14 in the second half last week before the Irish rallied to win 34-30.

"We'll be fine," said Sooners first-year coach Bob Stoops. "We don't hang our heads. We've just got to get better. We've got to be able to win these games."

The Sooners, who opened the season with three victories, were frustrated after their second straight loss.

"We've worked too hard during the summer and this season to lose games like we did the past two weeks," said offensive lineman Jay Smith.

The battle of the Big 12's best passing teams looked early on like an Oklahoma rout.

Josh Heupel threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter for the Sooners. Oklahoma used multiple receiver sets - including one that used six wideouts and just four down linemen - to keep Texas' defense on its heels.

Heupel hit Antwone Savage with a 44-yard touchdown on the second play of the game and the Sooners led 17-0 after Duncan's 43-yard field goal and a 30-yard touchdown catch by Jarrail Jackson.

Texas closed the deficit behind three Kris Stockton field goals of 46, 41 and 37 yards before Applewhite hit Nunez with an 11-yard touchdown with 49 seconds left in the first half. Applewhite hit Nunez again for the 2-point conversion to complete the rally and tie it at 17-17.

Texas went ahead in the third quarter on Mitchell's 21-yard TD run and led 31-20 after Kwame Cavil took a flanker screen 48 yards up the middle for another score.

The Sooners closed within a field goal on Duncan's 4-yard touchdown catch from holder Patrick Fletcher on the fake field goal.

Oklahoma drove 80 yards on 10 plays for the touchdown, getting three first downs on defensive penalties against Texas.

After giving up big yardage in the first quarter, the Texas defense tightened up and allowed just 157 yards the rest of the game. Heupel finished 31-of-48 passing for 311 yards and three interceptions.

The Longhorns held Oklahoma to just 15 yards rushing on 18 carries and started blitzing Heupel to pressure him.

Heupel killed the Sooners' last drive at the Texas 15 when an errant throw was picked off by a diving Ahmad Brooks.

"The way we started out," Heupel said."I thought it was going to be a really great day.



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