Muskogee Phoenix: Oct. 9, 2005
Fiery, frothing ’Horns punished Sooners’ freshman
DALLAS—It was another Texan’s turn for baptism by crimson and burnt orange fire on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl. Vince Young paid his dues two years ago in a 65-13 shellacking in 2003.
Welcome to the big bipartisan stage, Rhett Bomar.
Against a frothing team anxious to break a five-game losing streak to its nemesis, Bomar made his Red River Rivalry debut in a 45-12 thumping by the Texas Longhorns.
Although the redshirt freshman from Grand Prairie, Texas, did not have a relapse of ‘fumbilitis’ against No. 2 Texas in the 100th running of the event, Bomar was pressure, hurried, sacked and flustered for most of the game.
“We expected them to be good, fast, athletic and everything like that,” Bomar said the Longhorns’ defense. “It wasn’t anything surprising, we just didn’t play good.”
Bomar finished the day going 12-of33 passing for 94 yards. With the exception of a 15-yard touchdown pass throw to Joe Jon Finley with 11:35 in the third quarter, most of Bomar’s day was void of highlights. To his credit, several more balls could have probably been caught.
How was the highly touted quarterback’s day playing against his state’s flagship school?
“Not very good,” he said. “We struggled. I struggled.”
With OU standout running back Adrian Peterson hobbled by a nagging ankle sprain that flared up last week against Kansas State, Oklahoma’s offensive attack largely consisted of Bomar in shotgun formation, a move OU coach Bob Stoops said would help protect the quarterback and lengthen receivers’ routes.
Last year, Peterson, a native of Palestine, Texas, vacuumed up 225 yards on 32 carries as a freshman in a 12-0 OU victory. On Saturday, Peterson ran just three times for 10 yards.
Stoops said that Peterson had trouble making cuts in warm-ups.
“He was OK downhill,” Stoops said. “We didn’t think he was good enough side-to-side. We didn’t feel he was as effective as he needs to be… or at least not a productive as he needs to be.”
Bomar spent a large time of his afternoon trying to rally his troops after OU absorbed a pair of Texas haymakers – an 80-yard run by UT freshman Jamaal Charles and a 4-yard pass from Vince Young to Billy Pitman – that resulted in 14 quick points in the first half.
In contrast to Bomar, Texas junior quarterback Vince Young, said to have been cured of big-game nausea after clutch performances in last year’s Rose Bowl and this year’s 25-22 victory over Ohio State, started the game by going 5-for—6 for 60 yards. Young went to halftime on the wings of the bomb touchdown to Pittman on a fly pattern to give the Longhorns a commanding 24-6 with 38 seconds left in the first half.
“I thought that was really the breaking point,” Stoops said.
Young, a junior from Houston, finished the game going 14-of-27 for 241 yards and three touchdowns – and at least five chest pounds.
“You guys don’t see things inside the locker room, but basically we was pumped up.” Young said. “We was excited and once I saw my teammates all pumped up I knew we’d go out there and give them all we got.”
The feeling was mutual between player and fan. After the game, every Texas fan remained in the stands to vehemently shout their fight song.
Meanwhile, Bomar and the rest of the OU troops trodded off the field most with their heads at the same level of their shoulder pads.
As Young could attest, experience helps in a game of this magnitude.
OU offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Chuck Long said the biggest pressure Bomar is facing may come from trying to live up to Jason White’s statistics rather than blindsiding defenders.
“He’s going to be much better,” Long said. “These are some growing pains… I feel with his competitive fire he’ll get back on track eventually.”