Oklahoma football faces true must-win in 2020 Red River Rivalry vs. Texas

Oklahoma football is hoping to end its losing streak and get back on track versus a major rival, but Texas has different ideas.

The Red River Rivalry over the past decade, has been much anticipated by not only each fan base, but the entire country. One of the few rare games, where two bitter rivals, meet on a neutral field, and for three hours, the eyes of college football fans are watching Dallas.

Last year’s matchup featured a classic, where the Sooners yielded off the Longhorns, just enough for a 34-27 win. Jalen Hurts’ 235 yards and three touchdowns was the difference-maker in the contest. All three of his scores thrown to CeeDee Lamb.

The problem with that is neither are in Norman. Instead, they are rivals in the worst division in the NFL: the NFC East.

The craziness of this game every season seems to become more and more chaotic. From freshman kicker Cameron Dicker’s game-winner two years ago or Lamb’s ridiculous catch and run in last year’s contest.

With the way 2020 is going, I expect all of the unpredictable and wackiness that this game brings to be fulfilled.

For the Sooners, this is uncharted waters, as they are tied for last place in the conference with Kansas and have blown second-half leads in back-to-back weeks. Coming into the season, it was a given by many, that Oklahoma would continue to dominate.

Partly at fault of those giving the hype, many people didn’t realize how young this Sooners team is, especially on offense, headlined by two first-year starters in running back and sophomore Charleston Rambo at receiver and freshman Marvin Mims also at wide out.

This Sooners team can at times, look like the one we’ve gotten accustomed to over the past 4-5 years. When it comes to the second half however, they have mightily struggled against Kansas State and Iowa State.

For Texas, there was some red flags coming out of that chaotic 63-56 win over Texas Tech two weeks ago. The secondary was alarmingly bad and the overall defense could not stop Alan Bowman.

Texas did have some monster performances along the defensive side lead by leading tackler Caden Sterns with 12. Another bright spot for the ‘Horns was linebacker Joseph Ossai, who had 11 tackles and 3.5 for loss.

A much improved Max Duggan had a magnificent 26-yard touchdown run, that would put the game on ice and TCU would upset Texas at home.

For the first time in a long time, Red River Rivalry features two teams, in need of a bounce back win. A young and talented Spencer Rattler at the helm for the Sooners. An experienced and gritty Sam Ehlinger leads the Longhorns.

No matter the record, Red River Rivalry always seems to deliver. This year is no exception.

Here’s how to watch the Red River showdown:

Date: Saturday, Oct. 10
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Venue:
Cotton Bowl
TV: FOX
Live Stream: FOX Sports Go

Keys to Victory

Oklahoma absolutely has to improve their second half defense. First halves seem to be no issue for the Sooners as they gave up a combined 20 points between Iowa State and Kansas State in the first 30. The second 30 minutes however, was 55 points given up.

Texas’s offense is still very good, arguably better than the other two Big 12 foes Oklahoma has played. Joshua Moore has been Texas’ No. 1 receiver and the Longhorns bring back some experienced guys with Brennan Eagles and Malcolm Epps.

In order for Oklahoma to win this game, they need a complete game on defense. Or at minimum, a consistent game, to where they do not have the same blunder as the previous two games.

For Texas, they have similar issues that need to get cleaned up. Offense has not been an issue for the Horns, especially in the passing game (nearly 1,000 yards, 14 touchdowns through three games). The pass defense has to be crucial for the ‘Horns.

After forcing three Alan Bowman interceptions two weeks ago, the secondary couldn’t get anything from Max Duggan. Oklahoma’s speed of Rambo and Mims could be tough for the ‘Horns to handle.

The advantage Texas does have is experienced. The Horns have four returners from last year’s team in the secondary. The leading tacklers from the last two games have been from the secondary, in Sterns and BJ Foster.

The slight edge on defense goes to the ‘Horns, but Rambo showed flashes of why he can be the go to for the Sooners. His speed could get away from the Longhorns and could turn this game into a track meet.

Prediction

Both teams need this win in the worst of ways. There’s no coming back if Oklahoma starts the season 1-3. For Texas, a loss puts them well out of the playoff race as well as contention for the conference championship.

Red River normally tells us who holds the keys to the conference. In this wacky year of 2020, it’s who can hang on for a chance to win the conference.

Even with Oklahoma’s talent, Texas experience triumphs in a stadium, majority of them are playing in for their third and fourth time. In a tight contest, the Horns improve to 3-1 in 2020. Meanwhile, Oklahoma is in a deep hole.

Final Score: Texas 34, Oklahoma 28

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