John Hoover

Sporting News: To beat Texas, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts must overcome first-year Red River jinx

Sporting News: To beat Texas, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts must overcome first-year Red River jinx

NORMAN — It seems like Jalen Hurts was born to withstand the heat of high-stakes college football.

He hasn’t been through anything of the sort in an Oklahoma uniform yet, but that changes this week. He and the sixth-ranked Sooners will test an odd but immutable statistic against No. 11 Texas in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday — one that stretches back a generation, and has taken down some of the most accomplished quarterbacks in college football history.

Since 1990, quarterbacks making their debut in the Red River Showdown are 2-14-1 against counterparts who have previously started — or have significant playing time — in the rivalry.

This year’s iteration of the rivalry pits Texas’ two-time Red River starter Sam Ehlinger against Hurts, who despite making his first start in this game proved at Alabama he can handle big stages like this. That includes two SEC championship game appearances, three College Football Playoff appearances and three national title game appearances.

Oh, and the SEC’s greatest college football rivalry.

“I played in the Iron Bowl,” Hurts said Saturday when the Sooners dispatched Kansas. “I played in big games before. I’ll be alright.”

That may be true. But he has never played in the Red River Rivalry. In that sense, Hurts, a Houston native, is something of a wildcard in this scenario — and he just might be the first one to break that trend since Sam Bradford upended Colt McCoy and Texas in 2007.

See below for the complete list of first-year starting QBs in the Red River Rivalry since 1990 who went up against more experienced counterparts.

To read the rest of John Hoover’s report on first-year Red River Rivalry starting QBs, click here:


Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) is tackled by Kansas linebacker Kyron Johnson (15) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Lawrence, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Rookie Record

Here’s how first-year starting QBs in the Red River Rivalry have performed against their more experienced counterparts since 1990:

1990 (Texas 14, OU 13)

Steve Collins, OU (vs. Peter Gardere)
Passing: 1-5, 6 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 3-8

1991 (Texas 10, OU 7)

* Cale Gundy, OU (vs. Peter Gardere)
Passing: 5-17, 69 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT (6 sacks)
Rushing: 9-(-42)

1993 (Oklahoma 38, Texas 17)

Shea Morenz, Texas (vs. Cale Gundy)
Passing: 20-36, 263 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT (3 sacks)
Rushing: 4-(-10)

1995 (OU 24, Texas 24)

Eric Moore, OU (vs. James Brown)
Passing: 7-15, 48 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT (2 sacks)
Rushing: 9-36

1996 (OU 30, Texas 27)

Justin Fuente, OU (vs. James Brown)
Passing: 15-34, 165 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT
Rushing: 1-3

1999 (Texas 38, OU 28)

Josh Heupel, OU (vs. Major Applewhite)
Passing: 31-48, 311 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT (2 sacks)
Rushing: 6-(-13)

2004 (OU 12, Texas 0)

* Vince Young, Texas (vs. Jason White)
Passing: 8-23, 86 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT (3 sacks)
Rushing: 16-54

2005 (Texas 45, OU 12)

Rhett Bomar, OU (vs. Vince Young)
Passing: 12-33, 94 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT (3 sacks)
Rushing: 12-9

2007 (OU 28, Texas 21)

Sam Bradford, OU (vs. Colt McCoy)
Passing: 21-32, 244 yds, 3 TD, 0 INT (1 sack)
Rushing: 3-(-6)

2009 (Texas 16, OU 13)

+ Landry Jones, OU
Passing: 24-43, 250 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT (1 sack)
Rushing: 3-(-4)

2010 (OU 28, Texas 20)

Garrett Gilbert, Texas (vs. Landry Jones)
Passing: 27-41, 266 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT (3 sacks)
Rushing: 5-(-18)

2011 (OU 55, Texas 17)

Case McCoy, Texas (vs. Landry Jones)
Passing: 9-15, 116 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT (3 sacks)
Rushing: 9-(-38)

2012 (OU 62, Texas 21)

* David Ash, Texas (vs. Landry Jones)
Passing: 13-29, 113 yds, 0 TDs, 2 INTs (3 sacks)
Rushing: 6-16

2013 (Texas 36, Oklahoma 20)

* Blake Bell (vs. Case McCoy)
Passing: 12-26, 133 yds, 0 TDs, 2 INTs (4 sacks)
Rushing: 7-(-27)

2016 (Oklahoma 45, Texas 40)

Shane Buechele (vs. Baker Mayfield)
Passing: 19-36, 245 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT (4 sacks)
Rushing: 11-27

2017 (Oklahoma 29, Texas 24)

Sam Ehlinger (vs. Baker Mayfield)
Passing: 19-39, 278 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT (2 sacks)
Rushing: 22-106, 1 TD

2018 (Texas 48, Oklahoma 45)

Kyler Murray (vs. Sam Ehlinger)
Passing: 19-26, 304 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: 11-92, 1 TD
  1. * played as a backup in the previous season’s game
  2. + didn’t start but entered game early in 1st quarter

John Hoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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