Texas Longhorns Football: Five most important games in 2015

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Jan 2, 2015; Tempe, AZ, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph (10) throws during the first half against the Washington Huskies in the 2015 Cactus Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

5. September 26: Oklahoma State (7-6, 4-5 in 2014) at Texas (6-7, 5-4 in 2014)

Last Season: Texas defeated Oklahoma State, 28-7 in Stillwater, OK

This game marks the Big 12 conference opener for two teams looking to take significant steps forward in 2015. Mike Gundy’s Cowboys have played the Longhorns tough over the past few seasons, having won three out of the past five tilts.

Oklahoma State’s returnees are headlined by sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph, who was thrust into the starting role as a true freshman last year. Following injuries to former starters J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman, Rudolph started the final three games against Baylor, Oklahoma, and Washington. Overall, he did an admirable job as a starter, tossing six touchdowns and leading the Cowboys to victories over the Sooners and Huskies to end what had been a frustrating season on a high note.

Related: Oklahoma State Season Preview and Prediction

The Pokes also sport a pair of play-making wide receivers in seniors David Glidden and Brandon Sheperd. The pair combined for over 1,300 receiving yards and seven touchdowns last year, and should be a heck of a test for Duke Thomas and the rest of the Texas secondary.

OSU should be undefeated when they head to Austin; games against Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, and UTSA don’t exactly stand out as challenges. The real question is whether they will be ranked; the Cowboys open the season with the 28th most points in the Amway Coaches Poll.

As far as the ‘Horns are concerned, they could be anywhere from 1-2 to 3-0, depending on the way things break for them in the season’s first three weeks. One thing, though, is crystal clear: they need to open Big 12 conference play with an early home victory, something neither team has done in this series since 2008.

Next: No. 4: Texas at Notre Dame