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HornSports Staff Predictions – Texas vs. Oklahoma

Photo: Tim Heitman, USA TODAY Sports Images

HornSports Staff Predictions – Texas vs. Oklahoma

The Longhorns and Sooners will square off for the 112th time in history on Saturday afternoon with high-stakes on the line.  Last year Oklahoma got the better of Charlie Strong and the Longhorns 45-40, and went on to finish the season at 11-2, which included a win against Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.  The Longhorns finished the 2016 campaign at 5-7 and failed to make a bowl game for the second consecutive season.

The HornSports Staff give their predictions on the outcome of Saturday’s Red River Showdown.

Jameson McCausland

I truly believe that the Longhorns are starting to hit their stride. The emergence of QB Sam Ehlinger and the adjustments the Longhorns have made on offense will keep them competitive in every the rest of the season. Texas hired Tom Herman for games like these. His teams always seem to show up in big games.

I expect Oklahoma to come out aggressive after what happened last Saturday against Iowa State. Baker Mayfield is going to have his moments, but I have confidence in Todd Orlando’s defense to make plays.

On offense, this is the type of matchup where I see Collin Johnson and Reggie Hemphill Mapps having huge games. Texas should be able to have ample success throwing the ball, and I think that will open up the running game more than we’ve seen in recent weeks.

If you would have asked me about this game 3 weeks ago, I would have said Texas’ chances to win this game were slim. Since then, Texas has seen marked improvements on both sides of the ball. Combine that with the injuries and defensive struggles Oklahoma is having to deal with, and I believe Texas will get a huge win in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.

Score Prediction: Texas 31, Oklahoma 28

Daniel Seahorn

This is an interesting game to pick for me. Oklahoma comes in to the matchup just off an embarrassing loss to Iowa State at home while Texas is coming off a big double overtime victory over the Purple Wizard and Kansas State.

The Sooners will be looking for redemption in s major way and will have a chance to make it back to back victories over their conference foe. I expect them to come out pissed off after last week, but it shouldn’t take much to get them up for this game all things considered.

While Baker Mayfield and the Sooner offense will no doubt get theirs offensively, the Sooner defense has been in a very giving mood when it comes to points lately. After not allowing more than 20 points in their first three games, both Baylor and Iowa State put up 41 and 38 respectively.

Barring a terrible game plan and execution of it, I think Sam Ehlinger and the Texas offense will put some points on the board. And while he is working with different players defensively, Todd Orlando has proven before he can scheme up a game plan that can give Mayfield and the Sooner offense trouble.

Anything can happen in rivalry games and as most coaches will tell you, you just throw the records out the window. I think we will see plenty of points in this one and I also think it ends up being tight.

I’m feeling froggy after being proven wrong last week. I’m taking the Longhorns over the Sooners.

Score Prediction: Texas 38, Oklahoma 35

Ross Labenske

Texas-OU.  The Red River Rivalry. One of the best rivalries in all of college football. And the game on Saturday will prove exactly why.

Oklahoma, led by Bake Mayfield, the quarterback with the highest QBR in the nation, will be looking to bounce back after their home upset at the hands of the Cyclones. What’s also exciting about this particular match-up between the blueblood rivals is that this is the first time since 1947 that both universities are coming into the rivalry game with a new head coach, (which Texas won 34-14). What’s good for Texas is that the Longhorns have won 2 of the last 4 and are 6-3 in the last 9 match-ups that Texas has been unranked and OU has been ranked in the rivalry game. Texas and it’s wide-receiving core, led by whoever starts at quarterback, will have to come out swinging early, as the inconsistent running game might be beat around by the Sooners front 7. But if Texas can challenge the OU secondary, which gave up 343 yards to a quarterback who had thrown 2 passes prior to the game, then maybe the Longhorns can make something interesting of it. I predict the Longhorns getting the upset, winning 34- 31 and being in the driver’s seat for the Big-XII championship.

Score Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31

Aaron Carrara

Oklahoma is reeling from a home loss to an unranked opponent that hasn’t beaten them in 26 years, while Texas is riding high after a double OT home win against Kansas State.  This is a pivotal game for both teams, not solely because of the recruiting implications involved, but because of second-half season hopes.  The Longhorns have momentum and a formidable quarterback in Sam Ehlinger, both of which should be factors in Saturday’s game.  Conversely, the Sooners have a talented signal caller in Baker Mayfield, and a supporting cast of offensive weapons that can give the Longhorns fits.  Tom Herman got his guys up to play for the Southern Cal game, and I expect this game to be no different.  Lincoln Riley won’t settle for back-to-back losses, so don’t expect the Sooners to be under-preparing for this game.  We all know that in rivalry games, wins, losses and the like are thrown out the window.

Texas kicker Josh Rowland could be an interesting component to this game, as his leg may be the difference between a win and a loss.  Rowland has struggled mightily with field goals this season and must come through if called upon on Saturday.  Sam Ehlinger has the fire in his belly and has shown he’s a competitor at the highest level – I look for him to have a big game and ultimately be the deciding factor in the win for the Longhorns.

Score Prediction: Texas 31, Oklahoma 28

Harrison Wier

You never know what will happen in the RRS (I refuse to call it a showdown, by the way). Often times underdogs prevail, and sometimes the favored team wins – by a hefty margin. This game is truly unpredictable, and this year might be even more so than others.

Oklahoma is the No. 1 team in the country in total offense. The Texas secondary is facing a huge test tomorrow, and I don’t know if they are ready to take on that challenge. DeShon Elliot and Holton Hill have played lights out football this season, but the rest of the secondary has been mediocre at best. Kris Boyd is once again being exposed for a lack of mental discipline. PJ Locke is having the worst year of his career due to an advanced workload at nickel. Brandon Jones came into his own last week, but is still young and prone to mistakes. Baker Mayfield may carve this secondary up tomorrow.

The good news? The Oklahoma defense is not good against the pass, either. Oklahoma allows 232 passing yards/game, good for 79th in the country. Texas seemed to establish on offensive identity last week with Sam Ehlinger under center. With a diminished OU secondary, I expect that to continue.

I see this being an offensively dominated game. Texas has not shown an ability to stop a dual-threat QB, and Baker Mayfield is their toughest test yet. After a stellar year on defense, Oklahoma has come back down to Earth and shown a frequent inability to defend the pass.

The ‘Shootout’ in the Red River Shootout may have some significance this year. Although Texas is a much improved team, I don’t think they are ready to stop a more developed Sooners squad.

Score Prediction: Oklahoma 38 , Texas 31 

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Aaron Carrara is the founder and publisher of HornSports and has covered University of Texas athletics since 2011. Aaron is a member of the Football Writer's Association of America and the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and is a proud father to three boys.

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