Texas vs. Oklahoma State: Preview and Prediction
Here is everything you need to know about the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas Longhorns in our Oklahoma State vs. Texas preview.
11 a.m. Central Time, Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
Radio: Oklahoma State: Cowboys Radio Network; Texas: Longhorn IMG Radio Network
Records: Oklahoma State: 5-0 (2-0 in Big 12); Texas: 4-2 (2-1 in Big 12)
Ranking: Oklahoma State: No. 12 (AP); Texas: No. 25 (AP).
Last week: Oklahoma State, bye; Texas lost to Oklahoma, 55-48.
Fun Fact: Texas has won four of the last 10 meetings with Oklahoma State but has won each of the last two. The Texas win over Oklahoma State in 2019 snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cowboys in Austin.
QB Spencer Sanders: Coming off a bye week, let’s remind everyone how solid Sanders has been this season. He one of nine FBS players averaging more than 195 passing yards and 45 rushing yards per game. He ranks No. 2 in the Big 12 and No. 21 in the FBS with 13.95 yards per completion. His 244.2 yards of total offense per game also ranks No. 2 in the Big 12. Entering the season, his 4,072 passing yards was keeping him on pace with former Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph after his sophomore season. He had a rough game against Baylor with the three interceptions. But, in his three previous games, he had just one interception. Cowboys fans may not always like the way he gets the Cowboys to the finish line, but more often than not the Cowboys end up with a win.
RB Jaylen Warren: One of the best decisions the Cowboys have made this season was putting the Utah State transfer into the starting lineup. He moved into the starting lineup against Boise State and rushed for 223 yards on 32 carries. After that Warren rushed for 127 yards against Kansas State and then 134 yards on 36 carries against Baylor. He has four touchdown runs in that span. He’s adept at breaking big plays and his veteran savvy helps his offensive line as much as their blocking helps him. His 126 yards from scrimmage is No. 17 in FBS and it feels like he’s just getting started.
S Kolby Harvell-Peel: One wonders why you would throw in his direction right now. But Harvell-Peel plays safety, so chances are he’s coming your direction anyway. He has two interceptions in his last three games, and the two-time All-Big 12 selection ranks fifth among all active FBS players with nine career interceptions. He has 27 tackles so far this season. He has track-level speed, so he’s hard to outrun and difficult to navigate around in the passing game.
QB Casey Thompson: Thompson is coming off a huge game in the Red River Showdown against Oklahoma, as he threw for 388 yards and five touchdowns in the loss. He has just four career starts under his belt but he’s already the third quarterback in UT history to have multiple games with five touchdown passes (the others are Colt McCoy and Sam Ehlinger). Entering Saturday, Thompson leads the Big 12 in multiple categories, including passing efficiency (187.4), passing touchdowns (14), passing yards per completion (14.8), points responsible for (102), points per game (17.0) and yards per pass attempt (9.95).
WR Xavier Worthy: After catching just one pass against TCU the week before, Worthy exploded against Oklahoma. Worthy caught three touchdown passes in the contest, including Texas’ scores on the first play of the game and their final touchdown in the final minutes to tie the game. But, his 261 receiving yards was the second-most in Texas Football history, the most receiving yards by a freshman in a single game and the most yards ever for a Longhorn against the Sooners. At this rate, Worthy is liable to re-write Texas’ freshman receiving record book.
LB DeMarvion Overshown: The Cowboys will have to account for this guy on Saturday. Along with the big defensive game against Oklahoma last weekend, he also blocked a punt early in the game, so he’s a dangerous part of their special teams plan. Against the Sooners, he finished with eight tackles (five solo), with two tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery and the blocked punt. Entering Saturday’s game he has 52 tackles (27 solo) with four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He will be playing on Sundays soon.
Right now, a lot of the national Big 12 attention is on Oklahoma. But one shouldn’t forget that the only other undefeated Big 12 team right now is Oklahoma State. The Cowboys eliminated the Baylor Bears from that contention two weeks ago, and they had to outlast the Bears to do it, winning 24-14. The Cowboys have flipped the conventional wisdom of who they are the past couple of years, with their defense leading the way. The unit is No. 19 in total defense, No. 12 in rushing defense, No. 23 in passing efficiency defense and No. 4 in scoring defense. The takeaway is that it’s hard to move the ball and score on the Cowboys. No one has scored more than 23 points on the Cowboys this season.
The Longhorns have to be smarting from their Red River Showdown loss to Oklahoma. At one point Texas led, 28-7. They were utterly dominating the Sooners. And then, in the second half, the combination of the Sooners’ switch to backup quarterback Caleb Williams and Texas’ own inability to continue to move the ball put the Longhorns in the position of needing a touchdown pass to Xavier Worthy in the final minutes just to tie the game. And then, Texas gave up the game-winning touchdown to Oklahoma and lost to the Sooners for the fourth straight time. That was a game the Longhorns should have won, and it exposed their defense as a unit that can be exploited the longer you can keep them on the field. Now, Texas must beat Oklahoma State on Saturday to avoid being swept by the Big 12’s Oklahoma membership.
Prediction: Texas 42, Oklahoma State 35
The last two games have been decided by seven points or less and last year’s matchup in Stillwater went to overtime. Expect this game to be the same, with Texas grabbing a redemptive win at home and ending Oklahoma State’s bid for perfection.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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