Texas rallies around embattled coach Charlie Strong, upsets Oklahoma 24-17

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If there was any doubt whether Texas had the ability to rally around its embattled coach, Charlie Strong, those doubts were assuaged Saturday with the Longhorns’ performance against rival Oklahoma.

Texas defeated the Sooners 24-17 to claim their second win of the season and likely quiet the calls for Strong’s job for the next week and perhaps the rest of the year.

Following the final whistle, players hoisted Strong in the air as he crowd surfed to the cheers of the Longhorn faithful that still believed in the coach and the team even through a season a adversity.

The win was the biggest in coach Charlie Strong’s Texas tenure and a long time coming. The Longhorns had closes losses against Cal and Oklahoma State that were products of late-game special teams gaffes. But this game, a week after being blown out by TCU, finally showcased the talented team Strong had boasted about since the preseason.

“I’m just so proud of our players,” Strong said in the postgame interview. “Just how they came out and competed. All week had heard so much, they didn’t have any pride, and just they way they battled back And I know this, I’ve been saying it and I truly believe it, we have a good football team.”

And a lot of this victory belongs to the Texas defense.

It put a lot of pressure on an Oklahoma offense that had been averaging 42 points per game. The Sooners managed just 278 total yards and quarterback Baker Mayfield, who had been in Heisman contention, struggled to pass for 211 yards (most of which came in the second half) and a touchdown. Samaje Perine led all OU rushers with a paltry 10 carries for 36 yards.

Meanwhile, the Texas offense came alive and became the power rushing team it’s attempted to be all season. It rushed for 313 yards and a touchdown. The Longhorns punched the Oklahoma defensive line in the mouth early and kept punching all game.

Texas’ season is by no means saved, but this was the most important game on its schedule for a variety of reasons. The biggest of which is that gives the Longhorns — and Strong to an extent — a measure of confidence and pride. Strong showed Saturday that he could coach his team out of a deep, dark corner, now Strong’s overall success will be judged by whether he can keep it moving forward.

“They just came together,” Strong said in the postgame interview. “They heard so much and we just sat there and we talked about it and I said to them, you know, ‘At some point, we just gotta go guys, and we just gotta play up to our ability.’”

For more Texas news, visit Orangebloods.com.

For more Oklahoma news, visit SoonerScoop.com.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

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