Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas vs. Oklahoma preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m. CST, Saturday, October 12th, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt)
Radio: Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland), Sirius 111, XM 200; Longhorn IMG Radio Network (Craig Way), Sirius 136, XM 199
Opening Line: Oklahoma -10
Fun Fact: Texas is 62-47-5 all-time against the Sooners in the Red River Showdown. Since 2000, the teams have met 14 times when they’re both ranked, with OU holding a 10-4 edge.
QB Sam Ehlinger
Texas fans will tell you Ehlinger is the best quarterback in the Big 12. Oklahoma fans will disagree. Regardless, he’s damn good, and the most important player on the Longhorns roster. Ehlinger has thrown for 1,448 yards with 17 touchdowns, along with 236 rushing yards and three running TDs. In his last 18 games, Ehlinger has thrown for 40 touchdowns to just five interceptions with Texas going 14-4 over than span including five wins over ranked opponents.
DB B.J. Foster
This may seem like an odd choice to some, but Foster is a hard-hitting DB who is working with a depleted secondary. Caden Sterns and others are out, meaning players like Foster will need to step up even more. Foster is already doing a little bit of trash talking for this game, but he does not appear to fear the big moment. Last year as a true freshman in this game he finished third on the team with six tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and one pass defended. He had a career-high eight tackles vs. LSU earlier this season and he intercepted a pass last week against WVU.
QB Jalen Hurts
For Jalen Hurts, he’s certainly played in a ton of big games during his time at Alabama, and this rivalry is right up there with the best of them. Well Hurts is off to a great start in Norman. He leads the nation in passing efficiency rating (231.3), yards per pass attempt (14.0) and yards per completion (18.6), and ranks second in total offense (404.4 ypg) and yards per rush (8.8). Hurts also leads all quarterbacks with his 99.8 rushing yards per contest. He is a true dual-threat who could make life miserable for Texas on Saturday.
LB Kenneth Murray
Murray is the Big 12 Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and last year finished second on the team with 10 tackles against UT. He’s a team captain and so far this season he’s racked up 37 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. In the season opener vs. Houston, Murray led the Sooners with 13 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss while recording a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry and had a game-high nine tackles vs. Texas Tech two weeks ago.
The Longhorns need to win the time of possession battle and turnover margin. Texas has been better in both categories thus far than OU, ranking third in the Big 12 in time of possession and first in the Big 12 in turnover margin. I don’t think Texas can, or wants to, try and go blow-for-blow on big plays with the Sooners. They won’t win that way. They can win a high-scoring game, but it still needs to be done with ball and clock control and keeping Jalen Hurts and the OU offense on the field. Sam Ehligner’s running ability will play a big role in that, along with Keaontay Ingram and Roschon Johnson’s ability to find open holes behind Texas offensive line that has had the same five starters for every game this season.
Jalen Hurts and the Sooners need to pick on a Texas secondary that is down a few men in Caden Sterns and Jalen Green. Hurts needs to spread the ball around to his plethora of wide receivers in CeeDee Lamb, Charleston Rambo, Jadon Haselwood, Lee Morris, Grant Calcaterra and others. Keep the Longhorns secondary busy and guessing. That will require stout play up front from an offensive line that came into the season with lots of new faces, but has been outstanding thus far. That being said, this unit hasn’t seen a front seven quite like this one with Malcolm Roach, Keondre Coburn, Joseph Ossai and others. But if the Sooners are having success pressuring the Texas secondary, that will open up the running game for the backfield and it will be game, set, match.
Texas 41, Oklahoma 38
Texas is better on both lines and has been battle tested in a way the Sooners haven’t been so far this season. Sam Ehlinger will continue to prove why he is the most valuable player in the conference this season with a big game. Also being overlooked, Texas has a massive edge in the kicking game with Cameron Dicker, who kicked the game winner last year, whereas OU is using a redshirt freshman Gabe Brkic, who obviously has limited experience. Plus, Tom Herman thrives in the underdog role. He’s 8-3-1 against the spread as an underdog since taking over the Texas program with five outright wins. He makes it six.
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