Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in Dallas, Texas in our Texas vs. Oklahoma preview and prediction.
Date: October 14th, 2017 | 2:30 p.m. CT | Cotton Bowl
TV: ESPN | Joe Tessitore (PxP), Todd Blackledge (analyst), Holly Rowe (sidelin
Radio: Longhorn IMG Radio Network | Craig Way (PxP), Roger Wallace (analyst), Quan Cosby (sideline)
Radio: Sooners Sports Network | Toby Rowland (PxP) Merv Johnson (Analyst) Chris Plank (Sidelines)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 132, XM 199
Fun fact: Since 1900, the only years Texas and Oklahoma have not played were 1918, ‘20, ‘21 and 1924-28. The first matchup between the two teams in 1900 ended with a 28-2 Longhorns’ victory. Also, this season marks the first since 1947 that both Oklahoma (Lincoln Riley) and Texas (Tom Herman) have first-year head coaches of their respective programs. 1947 marked the first year of the Bud Wilkinson era at OU and the debut season for Blair Cherry at UT.
Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams, running backs
Sermon seems to have become the lead back for the Sooners, with Adams getting the second-most carries. Not only will both have their hands full against Texas’ run defense, but they will have to be able to pick up blitzes and help the offensive line.
Jordan Thomas, cornerback
There’s no other way around it, Thomas has had a brutal last two games against Baylor and Iowa State. Both teams picked on him and in both games he got smoked. Thomas has 14 tackles and only one pass breakup on the season. He will be targeted against on Saturday.
Sam Ehlinger, quarterback
I can’t imagine Ehlinger not getting the nod at quarterback on Saturday. He lit up Kansas State or 380 passing yards and rushed for 107, giving Herman more of the dual-threat ability he is looking for at the position.
Brandon Jones, safety
Jones led the Longhorns with a career-best 11 tackles last week against Kansas State, nine solo, along with one tackle for loss. The secondary is going to be challenged this weekend against Baker Mayfield, so watching how Jones is used, either in the box, or dropped back deep, will be interesting.
What’s up with OU’s secondary?
Some say it’s simply a lack of effort and focus the past two weeks. Others might argue that this Oklahoma secondary just isn’t that good. If Baylor and Iowa State can torch them, what might Oklahoma State and Texas Tech do? Texas is good, but they don’t have the most explosive downfield passing game in the Big 12 conference. But Ehlinger should be taking shots deep to Collin Johnson, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and others.
He’s already played in a pair of overtime games as a true freshman against quality opponents USC and Kansas State. But this atmosphere on Saturday in the Red River Rivalry is unlike anything he has played in to date. How does he handle the pressure? How might Texas adjust their play calling to not overwhelm the true freshman?
OU offense vs. Texas defense
This is the better of the two match ups in the game. Texas has the number 1 total defense in the Big 12, while OU brings in the best conference in America. And the Longhorns better watch the big play from Baker Mayfield and his weapons: OU ranks fourth in the country with its 2.4 plays per game of at least 40 yards and first with its 0.6 plays per contest of at least 80 yards. Plus, Texas has been great against the run, so OU will have to win this on the arm of Mayfield. Since allowing 263 yards rushing to Maryland in the opener, the Longhorns have surrendered just 263 rushing yards over the last four games. The Texas rush defense (105.2 ypg) ranks 17th nationally and second-best in the Big 12.
Oklahoma 42, Texas 35
Ultimately, I’m taking the more experienced quarterback who’s about to play in his third Red River Rivalry over the true freshman who is going up against a quality front seven. OU has a big experience advantage, which plays a roll in massive rivalry games. Overall, 11 Longhorns have made their first career start this season, with 21 players making their first career appearance in 2017. Also, Texas’ offensive line still has some issues and I expect a big day from Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who leads the Big 12 with five sacks on the season.