Dallas, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Red River Rivalry had become one-sided in recent years and Texas needed to reverse its fortunes against Oklahoma.
The Longhorns did so in a big way Saturday with a convincing 36-20 victory over the 12th-ranked Sooners in the annual grudge match at the Cotton Bowl.
With three straight losses against Oklahoma, speculation had grown rampant that Mack Brown needed a win to potentially save his job at Texas. He got touchdowns from the offense, defense and special teams in the lopsided victory, giving Texas its first win against OU since a 16-13 triumph in 2009.
"I'm proud of our guys," Brown said. "It's the way the Red River Rivalry should be. It's two football teams that fought hard."
Case McCoy completed 13-of-21 passes for 190 yards with a pair of long touchdowns and one interception for the Longhorns (4-2, 3-0 Big 12), who have won three in a row -- all in conference play. Johnathan Gray ran for 123 yards and Malcolm Brown added 120, as the Longhorns racked up 255 yards on the ground and 445 yards overall.
Chris Whaley returned an interception 31 yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the first quarter and an 85-yard punt return by Daje Johnson helped stem any momentum Oklahoma might have had early in the third.
Blake Bell struggled mightily in his first start against the Longhorns, throwing for just 133 yards on 12-of-26 passing with a pair of interceptions. Damien Williams ran for a touchdown for Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1), which had a 10- game conference winning streak stopped.
"I still believe in our football team and a lot of potential," said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops. "We've just got to get some things ironed out."
The teams traded field goals on the game's first two possessions, as Anthony Fera drilled a 31-yard kick for Texas and Oklahoma's Michael Hunnicutt countered with 34-yarder. The Sooners nearly had a touchdown on their opening drive, but a wide open Brennan Clay was unable to haul in Bell's third-down pass in the end zone.
A trade of turnovers then gave Texas the lead for good. The Longhorns were marching toward a potential score when Joe Bergeron fumbled at the Oklahoma 20, but Bell was pressured in the pocket just three plays later and was picked off by Whaley. The 300-pounder lineman rumbled 31 yards to the end zone for a 10-3 lead with 2:29 left in the first quarter.
Texas forced a punt and again moved the ball against the Oklahoma defense as a 38-yard run by Gray and an 11-yard scamper by Brown set up a first down at the OU 31. The Sooner defense stiffened and forced a turnover on downs when McCoy's pass on 4th-and-2 fell incomplete inside the 20.
The Longhorns, though, were undeterred and continued the offensive dominance with their next possession. On 3rd-and-11, McCoy found a streaking Marcus Johnson in stride down the right sideline for a 59-yard score to make it 17-3 with 8:46 remaining in the half
Texas then added a 50-yard field goal by Fera with 3:22 left, but a 73-yard kickoff return by Oklahoma's Roy Finch led to five straight rushes for a touchdown. Damien Williams capped the quick 27-yard series with a 3-yard run, but there was still just over a minute left on the clock and Texas had enough time to drive far enough for a 43-yard field goal from Fera to give the Longhorns a 23-10 cushion at the break.
Oklahoma started the second half with a 37-yard Hunnicutt field goal and Texas finally had to punt after its first series of the third quarter, but the Longhorns didn't let the Sooners gain any momentum. They quickly forced another punt and the special teams added to the advantage when Daje Johnson escaped two Sooners and raced 85 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was blocked, leaving Texas with a 29-13 margin.
Duke Thomas picked off a Bell pass soon after and the Longhorns converted the turnover into another touchdown, as McCoy threw a perfect pass to Mike Davis for a 38-yard score to make it 36-13 late in the third.
Geneo Grissom gave Oklahoma a little life with just over 10 minutes to play when the lineman intercepted McCoy and ran 54 yards untouched for a score. The Sooners then drove inside the Texas 10 with their next possession, but went only backward from there as a sack on 4th-and-13 sealed the contest.
"They made big plays in the game and we didn't have hardly any big plays, offensively," Stoops added. "They covered us and at times they beat us in protection. They did a better job defending."
Oklahoma mustered just 263 total yards and went 2-of-13 on third down.
Texas was 13-of-20 on third down ... An unranked Texas team beat a ranked Oklahoma squad for the first time since 1992 ...The Longhorns improved to 60-43-5 in the all-time series ... Oklahoma hadn't allowed a punt return for a touchdown since Colorado's Jeremy Bloom on Dec. 7, 2002 ... The Sooners picked up their second interception return for a touchdown this season, as Corey Nelson was the first two weeks ago at Notre Dame ... Texas has next week off before a visit to TCU, while Oklahoma visits Kansas next Saturday.