DALLAS, Texas – In a series dominated by the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners, the Red River Rivalry heats up at the Cotton Bowl Stadium when Oklahoma meets the Texas Longhorns on Saturday at 12 a.m. (ET)
The last time that the Texas Longhorns raised the Golden Hat Trophy was 2009. Colt McCoy led the No. 3 Longhorns over the No. 20 Sooners, 16-13, and sent Texas on the path to an appearance in the BCS National Championship Game.
Three games later, the Sooners have claimed three consecutive victories and have blown out the Longhorns in the last two meetings. A 63-21 defeat of the then No. 15 Longhorns last year has sent Texas into a downward spiral and prepared us for what may be the final meeting between Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Texas’ Mack Brown.
Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) appears to be a big favorite heading into Saturday’s contest and seemingly giving the final blow to Mack Brown’s career at Texas should his Longhorns fall on Saturday.
For the Sooners to pick up their fourth win in the rivalry, a return to the running game will be needed. Outside of a 76-yard touchdown run by Brennan Clay against TCU, Oklahoma ran for just 127 yards.
Those numbers have a high chance of increasing this week. Texas sits last in the conference in rushing defense in allowing 248.4 yards per game. Oklahoma, second in the conference in rushing offense, is putting up 246 yards per game on the ground.
The game plan is simple for the Sooners, run the ball. The running game will open up the field for quarterback Blake Bell to have his shining moment in the contest. Bell is averaging 167 yards through the air a game and is completing his passes at a rate of just under 70 percent. If Bell can keep his offense from becoming one dimensional, both sides of offense will punch through for a big total on offense.
Texas (3-2, 2-0) heads into Saturday with thoughts of an upset and a win that could tip the season for the Longhorn faithful.
Rivalry games always provide a heated playing field and if Texas has an idea of how to upset Oklahoma, it has to lean on that.
The Longhorns may have the ability to be more physical on both sides of the ball based on size. The size has not shown on either side thus far this season. A physical presence could open up the running game for Johnathan Gray and if there is success from the running game, Case McCoy may have a chance.
For motivation, all the Longhorns have to do is look at the series over the last few years. The Sooners have nine wins in the series since 2000, seven of those by double digits and four that were blowouts.
The embarrassment and thought that a senior class could go down as just the fifth Longhorn senior class to not notch a victory in the series could give the Longhorns the ability to play at a higher level than what has been shown on the field.
Texas was exposed on defense by BYU earlier in the season, giving up over 500 yards overall on the ground. The ability to learn from those mistakes gives Texas a chance, albeit a slim one.