Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas vs. Oklahoma preview and prediction.
11:00 a.m., October 10th, 2020, Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
Radio: Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman); Longhorn IMG Radio Network (Craig Way, Roger Wallace); Compass Media Network (Kevin Ray, Chad Brown)
Spread: Oklahoma -1.5
Fun Fact: Texas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against the Sooners. Oklahoma trails 62-48-5 in the series but owns a 27-20-3 advantage since 1971. In the Big 12 era, OU is 15-10 against the Longhorns and has won eight of the last 11 meetings and 14 of the last 21.
QB Spencer Rattler
Rattler is slated to become OU’s sixth redshirt freshman quarterback to start vs. Texas. The last one was Sam Bradford, who beat Texas 28-21 in 2007. Rattler hasn’t been the reason OU has lost its last two games, but he’s show freshman moments. Against Iowa State, he went 25 for 36 for 300 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, and scored the first rushing TD of his career on a five-yard plunge in the first quarter. But any time you have a freshman starting his fourth-career game and its in a game like the Red River Rivalry, it’s a different beast.
LB Dashaun White
White is off to a hot start for the Sooners. White was effective last season with 52 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss with one sack. This year he already has 12 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. That’s third on the team in tackles and first in tackles for loss and sacks. Against Iowa State, he has five tackles and two tackles for loss. He will need to be all over the field on Saturday against Texas.
QB Sam Ehlinger
Some might say it’s easy to list the quarterback here, but Ehlinger is going to have to carry Texas literally and physically in this game and the rest of the season. There is also a ton of value in having experience in a game of this magnitude, and for Ehlinger, it’s his fourth Red River Rivalry. Ehlinger has averaged over 300 yards per game through the air, plus over 40 rushing yards per game, with a total of 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. Ehlinger is the Texas offense.
LB Joseph Ossai
Ossai is the active leader at Texas in tackles for loss (19.5) and sacks (7.0), while ranking second in tackles (132). Once again, a veteran who has been through a game and experience like the Red River Rivalry. Thus far, he has racked up a team-high 22 tackles, five tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups and two quarterback hurries this year. Against TCU, he had a career-high 11 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and his first sack of the season. If he keeps that going, it could be a long day for Rattler and the OU offense.
The Sooners need to stop the running game of the Longhorns. Texas is ranked second in the Big 12 in rushing offense, but OU thus far has allowed the fewest rushing yards per game with 88.3 at 3.3 yards per carry. For all of OU’s defensive issues, the running defense has held it’s own thus far. OU is expected to have DE Ronnie Perkins back this week for the Sooners, which is a huge addition as he was probably the second-best defensive player on the team last year behind Kenneth Murray. Add that to the linebacking crew of DeShaun White, Brian Asamoah and Nik Bonitto, need to do their part on the front end to keep the Texas offense in check.
The Longhorns need to rattle Spencer Rattler. A redshirt freshman in his first Red River Rivalry, coming off of two-straight regular season losses, something that hasn’t happened to OU in over 20 years, is a recipe for a quarterback who might be flustered easily. What’s the problem here for Texas? The defense only has three sacks in three games, which is the second fewest in the Big 12 Conference so far this season.
Oklahoma 40, Texas 37
This game is a toss up in Vegas and it’s a toss up in my eyes. Both teams have underwhelmed so far this season and this game is basically an elimination game for the Big 12 Championship Game? Who saw that coming? But hey, it’s 2020.
That being said, I believe Rattler is getting more comfortable, Lincoln Riley continues to put him in a position to put up numbers and win, and if the players around Rattler made a couple of plays last week, OU walks out of Ames with a win. Meantime, Texas is still working through two new coordinators, should be 0-2 in Big 12 play right now, and it’s not clear to me Tom Herman has his guys’ ears.
And history, is on OU’s side. Since 2000, Oklahoma has lost its game immediately prior to the Red River contest just three times, but beat the Longhorns on all three occasions (28-21 in 2007, 31-26 in 2014 and 29-24 in 2017).
So I’m rolling with OU in a three-point win.
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