Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Texas vs. Oklahoma preview and prediction.
October 9, 2021; 11:00 am; Cotton Bowl Stadium; Dallas, Texas
TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Holly Rowe)
Radio: Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland and Teddy Lehman); Longhorn IMG Radio Network (Craig Way and Roger Wallace).
Spread: OU by 3.5
Fun Fact: ESPN College GameDay will broadcast its pregame show in Dallas for the seventh time. The Sooners and Longhorns have split victories at three each when GameDay televises from Big D.
Running back Bijan Robinson
Robinson leads the Big 12 Conference and is second in the nation, with 130.4 yards per game rushing. The sophomore averages 6.2 yards per carry and has seven rushing touchdowns. Robinson’s best performance came last weekend when he carried 35 times for 216 yards and a couple of TDs to help the Longhorns to a 32-27 victory over TCU. His performance earned him the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honor. Robinson also has 10 catches for 167 yards and 2 TDs this year.
Quarterback Casey Thompson
The junior QB has completed 71 percent of his passes for 707 yards this season with 9 TDs and 3 INTs. Thompson’s stats were unimpressive against TCU last week (12-22-142-1-1), but his receivers dropped some of his aerials, and one pass was picked off.
Kicker Cameron Dicker
Nicknamed “Dicker the Kicker” for his game-winning field goal over the Sooners three years ago, the senior does all the kicking chores for the Steers. Dicker has hit on 5 of 7 field goals (71.4%) this year, including a perfect 4 for 4 last Saturday. He also is perfect on 25 PAT attempts this year. Dicker averages 48 yards in the punting department, with five of his nine boots traveling 50 yards or more. As a kickoff specialist, 25 of his 34 kickoffs have been touchbacks. Dicker earned the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honor for connecting four field goal attempts and 2 of 2 on PATs against the Horned Frogs.
Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown
The senior linebacker leads the Horns with 44 tackles with 2 tackles behind the line and one-half a sack. Overshown also had a fumble recovery last weekend against TCU. He had a fumble return last week to set up a Texas field goal. Overshown also had an interception that set up a field goal against the Sooners last year.
Quarterback Spencer Rattler
After being criticized for an unspectacular performance against West Virginia on Sept. 25, Rattler answered the call last Saturday by completing 22 of 25 passes for 243 yards with 2 TDs and one interception to leads the Sooners to a 37-31 win over Kansas State. Rattler leads the league with a pass rating of 158 (122 of 160 for 1,260 yards with 10 TDs and 4 INTs).
Receiver Drake Stoops
The junior walk-on scored the winning touchdown against Texas last year. Stoops does not have the flashy stats (8 catches for 90 yards this year), but he comes up with clutch receptions. Last weekend, he hauled in a pass for 20 yards to help OU overcome a third-and-14 situation en route to a 27-10 lead. Stoops had two consecutive catches (22 and 9 yards) to help Oklahoma to a touchdown against Nebraska.
Noseguard Perion Winfrey
The senior lineman also had a significant hand, literally, against Texas last year when he blocked Cameron Dicker’s field goal in overtime. Winfrey is second on the team, with four stops behind the line of scrimmage, including 3.5 sacks. Winfrey will be vital to disrupt UT’s offensive line to slow Robinson from making big plays.
Linebacker Nik Bonnito
Bonitto leads Oklahoma with 5.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. He had a fumble recovery and advanced it 70 yards against TCU to set the school record for most yards returned with a fumble.
The defense isn’t going to stop Robinson but slow his progress. Wrap him up and don’t let him escape, or he’s off to make big gains. Casey Thompson isn’t as good as K-State’s Skylar Thompson, and the Sooners must force Casey to make bad decisions in his first Red River Showdown. Oklahoma’s offense had its finest performance last week against an FBS team and must capitalize on the momentum. Rattler must expose a weak Texas defense that has allowed 350 yards (248.5 passing) or more in four of five games this year and 24 points per game. OU showed some teeth in the running game last week. If the Sooners successfully run the ball this week, it could be a long day for the Horns.
The Longhorns need to feed the ball to Bijan. If he has a big day against the Sooners, as he did against the Horned Frogs, he could be a front-runner for the Heisman Trophy. Oklahoma’s defense couldn’t get off the field in the opening drives of their last three games. Nebraska chewed up nearly seven minutes to a field goal in its opening drive. West Virginia gobbled up nine minutes to score a touchdown. K-State milked more than six minutes marching into Sooner territory on its opening drive, but a fumble blew up the drive. So, it’s vital to deliver the pigskin in Bijan’s hands and keep OU’s offense on the sideline. Texas had some dropped passes last week, but the Sooners’ defense has been weak defending slant routes underneath. The secondary must keep OU’s receivers in front of them.
Prediction: Oklahoma 34 Texas 30
The winner of the 117th edition of the Red River Showdown jumps into the driver’s seat for a bid to make the Big 12 title game in December. However, the second-place team will get a shot, as evident when OU lost to Texas three years ago but got revenge in the championship game. Last year, Rattler had a sluggish start, including an interception and fumble that gifted Texas with 10 points. Lincoln Riley benched him for the rest of the first half. Rattler came back in the second half by completing 15 of 23 for 135 yards and 2 TDs in the second half and overtime. The higher-ranked team in the AP poll has won 30 of 41 matchups (30-8-1) when both programs are ranked. This year, Oklahoma is ranked 6th; UT is No. 21. This game is based on pure emotion, which soars as kickoff approaches. Both teams have excellent kickers, but touchdowns, not field goals, will win the game. The team that makes fewer mistakes will win—fewer penalties and limited turnovers.