DALLAS -- Not long after Texas got beat by BYU and then lost to Ole Miss, Texas coach Mack Brown took to the podium and said all his team cared about was winning the Big 12 Conference.
That was when Texas was 1-2 overall. Remember that? Silly, Mack, everyone said.
Man, things sure have changed.
There was a blowout in the Cotton Bowl Saturday, but not the one anyone saw coming and the result of an improbable 36-20 victory by Texas over Oklahoma as the Longhorns are at the top of the conference at 4-2 overall and a perfect 3-0 in the league.
No one thought that was possible three weeks ago. No one really saw Texas as having much of a chance Saturday in Dallas. Not after what happened in September against BYU and Ole Miss and certainly not after what Oklahoma had done to Texas in the past two years, undoing the Longhorns in two blowouts.
"I'm proud of our guys," Brown said. "We took some shots and we hit 'em, and we're 3-0 in the Big 12."
Texas ran the ball better than it had all year and stopped the run like it hadn't all year against an Oklahoma team that was exactly the opposite. It was the Sooners, at 5-0 who had stopped the run and ran when they wanted.
"This was the team we expected," Brown said of his Longhorns. "This is what we expected. Kansas State is what we expected. Hopefully we'll be able to do it for six more weeks."
Since falling to Ole Miss and dropping to 1-2, Texas has run off three wins in a row, including beating up on Kansas State and then blasting an Oklahoma team Brown and the Longhorns hadn't beaten since 2009.
Texas ran for 255 yards -- Jonathan Gray and Malcom Brown had 123 and 120, respectively -- and Oklahoma, which came in averaging 246 yards per game on the ground, had just 130. Meanwhile, Texas had allowed an average of 248 yards per game on the ground.
Combine that skewed statistic with the fact that Texas scored a defensive touchdown, a special teams touchdown and forced Blake Bell into a pair of interceptions.
"When you have an interception return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown, those are always difference-makers," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "We didn't have hardly any. So, really, in each part of the game, they outplayed us."
And really this tilts the Big 12 even more. The Sooners looked like the team to beat, especially after winning on the road at Notre Dame at the end of September, and with a defense that was much improved and an offense that hadn't turned the ball over in three games, Saturday in Dallas seemed predictable.
"It says more about the state of college football," Brown said. "Anybody can beat anybody on Saturday if you play better. We messed some things up, but we were focused, tough, confident, and these guys did not let up at all."
Texas scored on its opening drive, finished 13 of 20 on third-down conversions and got timely passing from Case McCoy, who wound up going 13 of 21 with a pair of touchdowns and no turnovers.
"I'm extremely proud," McCoy said. "We had two backs that rushed over 100 yards. It makes your job a lot easier. We should have had more than we had, but we made plays when we needed to make plays."
For the first time this season, the Sooners didn't.
Bell, who scored four touchdowns in this game a season ago and has played in it the past two years, looked shaky all game. And instead of running the ball against what seemed to be a leaky Texas defense, he rushed it only seven times for negative-27 yards. Bell finished 12-of-26 passing for 133 yards and no touchdowns. He was intercepted twice and sacked four times.
"We didn't play well as an offense," Bell said." Simple as that. Just moving the football. We need to be better about getting positive plays. Overall, we did not play well. I take full blame for the picks I threw. You can't turn the ball over. I just have to execute."
NOTES: Oklahoma was just 2 of 13 on third downs. ... OU had 147 yards in penalties, it's sixth-highest total in history. ... The Texas win ended an 11-game conference winning streak for Oklahoma. ... Six players caught passes for Texas. Jordan Shipley had a team-high five catches for 59 yards. ... OU came in holding opponents to 27 percent on third downs this year. Texas came in allowing 45.9 percent on third downs. ... OU played without starting linebacker Corey Nelson and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Phillips was out with an unspecified injury. Nelson is out for the year with a torn pectoral muscle. ... Texas seniors had never beaten Oklahoma.