It’s that time of year again, where the Texas State Fair is in full-swing and October football is bringing the goods. The Oklahoma Sooners and the Texas Longhorns will be battling it out on Saturday for the Golden Hat trophy at the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
Both teams are entering the game sitting at one loss, so the stakes couldn’t be higher as they are looking to keep their Big XII title hopes alive. If you remember, the Red River Shootout (I still refuse to call it by it’s new name, Red River Rivalry) loss by Texas was the beginning of the Texas meltdown. What people need to remember going into this one is that this is a much better Texas team compared to last year.
Longhorn QB David Ash has clearly made the step up as the No. 1 quarterback over Case McCoy. He is playing good football and seems to have found his rhythm. The Oklahoma defense hasn’t been too sharp on stopping third down conversions, with only stopping 36% through 4 games. Giving Ash that extra set of downs could be lethal. Texas is also No. 2 in converting on third down. The Sooners will need to improve upon this stat if they want to shut down the Longhorn offense.
The Oklahoma defense will need to keep putting pressure on the QB like they did with Texas Tech’s Seth Doege last week. Do not give him time or he will make the play 90% of the time. OU’s defense is playing strong, and they need to continue on this. On the flip side of the field, the Texas defense has just as many question marks as OU’s offense still has.
Longhorns’ defense ends, Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor have proven themselves deadly. They have a combined 8 sacks over the last 3 games and Jeffcoat had a fumble recovery TD against WVU last week. The Sooner offensive line will need to block, block and block some more in order to give Landry Jones the time he needs to get the ball out. Another Longhorn name you need to remember for Saturday is CB Quandre Diggs. Diggs has three interceptions so far on the year and will be playing across from Sooners receiver, Kenny Stills. Going to be an interesting match-up.
The Longhorns rush defense has been suspect. They have allowed two players to have over 406 yards rushing in the last two games and this was just two guys. This could be the week that the Sooner running backs have a breakout performance unless they make adjustments. Blake Bell and his Belldozer package might be the Longhorns worst enemy.
The key is going to be containing turnovers. If offensive turnovers get out of hand, the pendulum may swing in the way of Longhorns. Jones needs to keep it to a minimum and come into the game like he did last week; focused and determined to prove people wrong.
The 107th meeting between the these two teams is the same year end and year out. It is completely unpredictable and most of the time, always exciting.
The spread right now has Oklahoma by 3, but I wouldn’t put any money on that. Going to be a barn-burner in Dallas this weekend.