Coming off a tough loss to TCU, don’t think for a second that Oklahoma will overlook the Longhorns. Texas comes into this game 2-3, losers of three straight, with an offense that is about inept as it gets. They rank 114th in total offense, average 18.4 points per game -which also ranks 114th, and if you discard their season opener in which they scored 38 points, they’re averaging a miserable 13.2 points per game. David Ash’s latest concussion ended his football career, and ended the Longhorns’ chances of competing this season.
All that aside no one gave Texas a chance last year, but Case McCoy and the Horns stunned the Sooners and proved that the smart money doesn’t always win. But this is a different Texas team, one that is far more depleted than last year’s.
Both coaches downplay the rivalry, but to the players this is more than just another game.
“It’s the reason why most people come to Oklahoma- for the Texas-OU game,” Oklahoma defensive end Chuck Ndulue said.
This game will be played in Dallas at Jerry World and most likely the crowd will be split 50-50. Texas will adopt the mindset of “no one’s giving us a chance”, but the task will be much tougher than usual as the Sooners are coming off a tough loss at TCU and need a big win to reinsert themselves in the postseason race. Oklahoma will want to rebound, and should know better than to overlook the Horns after what happened last year.
Quarterback Trevor Knight will have to play better in order for the Sooners to win. Last Saturday at TCU, Knight was just 14-35 with two interceptions. Seven of those completions went to his star receiver Sterling Shepard. Knight will have to do a better job of not keying in on Shepard and spreading the ball around in order to avoid the costly mistakes that haunted the Sooners last week.
Texas on the other hand will continue rolling with sophomore quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Swoopes has shown progress in Ash’s absence but ranks 97th in the nation in pass efficiency, and he needs to regain the form he displayed prior to last week’s Baylor game if the Horns are gonna compete.
“Coach Strong always tells me to be confident in myself, because if I’m not confident in myself, nobody else will be,” Swoopes said, when discussing his shortcomings this season.
One aspect to keep an eye on will be Oklahoma’s passing offense vs. Texas’s fifth ranked pass defense. If Trevor Knight returns to his old form the Sooners should cruise, but if he continues to force the issue the Longhorns defense will take advantage. I would give Texas a much better chance had Oklahoma still been undefeated, but the Sooners are not happy with their poor play, and would love to take it out on their heated rival.
Prediction: (11) Oklahoma 38 Texas 17
*Section Photo credit to Justin K. Aller, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to InsideTexas