It’s finally here — the Oklahoma Sooners are headed to Cotton Bowl Stadium for the biggest game of the season. Before I get to my breakdown of the Texas Longhorns offense and defense, I feel I need to list off some fun facts about this rivalry:
- The last time Texas was ranked heading into the Red River Showdown was 2012 — OU won 63-21.
- OU is 7-2 when they wear crimson jerseys.
- OU holds the largest margin of victory in the RRR at 52 points. They also hold the second through ninth largest margins.
- When both teams are ranked heading into the RRR, OU leads the series 20-15-3.
Texas has played better on offense, but they struggled in the second half against Kansas State last week. The Longhorns are on a four game winning streak, but in two of those wins the team has only racked up 28 and 19 points.
At quarterback, Texas is happy with their QB1, Sam Ehlinger, who has locked in the starting job this season. He shows a ton of versatility with his passing and speed. So far this season, Ehlinger has nearly 1,200 yards and nine touchdowns to go along with just two interceptions. He also has three rushing touchdowns, showing that he can move in the pocket and make things happen with his feet.
Outside of Ehlinger, the Texas run game has been less than stellar. They average less than four yards per rush, but OU has struggled mightily on defense and will still have a lot to worry about with Texas’ best backs. Tre Watson and Keaontay Ingram have combined for nearly 500 yards and three touchdowns this season. They will be expected to take on a bigger workload against a questionable Sooner run defense.
Ehlinger has good weapons at wideout in Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson. The two receivers should be the biggest concern for an Oklahoma secondary that has allowed big games to wideouts each week. Humphrey already has over 400 yards, and Johnson isn’t far behind with 350. They have 50 receptions between the two of them. Parnell Motley and Tre Brown will have to lock them up on every drive.
Overall, the Texas offense has enough weapons to scare OU, but if they struggle early, the Sooners should be able take advantage of an inconsistent run game and focus on defending the pass.
Aside from their Week 1 blunder against Maryland, the Longhorns defense has been the best in the Big 12, and it will be the best defense OU has faced in 2018.
There will be a ton of pressure on cornerbacks Davante Davis and Kris Boys to lock up potentially the best WR duo in the nation, Hollywood Brown and CeeDee Lamb. Both have big play ability and a quarterback who loves taking shots down field throwing the ball to them. If Oklahoma wants to head back to Norman with the gold hat, they will have to find a way to move the ball through the air against the Texas secondary.
The Sooners have struggled to find their star running back since Rodney Anderson went down with an injury, but Kennedy Brooks seemed to take a big leap forward last week against Baylor. The OU backfield also features Trey Sermon, who has his moments as well. Even though Oklahoma runs the ball often, the big plays through the air seem to negate any momentum they build on the ground. Against Texas, they might have to focus more on moving the ball through the tackles.
The Texas run defense has been strong, allowing just 115 yards per game, and just over 330 yards total on the season. The Oklahoma offense will face its biggest test of the year, but it’s still up in the air if Texas is will be able to slow down Kyler Murray and the soaring OU offense.
Final Prediction: OU 44 Texas 35
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