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.
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
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
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
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
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
Top Plays: Texas vs. Baylor
The Texas Longhorns held on to beat the Baylor Bears 23-17 last Saturday in Austin to win their sixth straight game, improving to 6-1 overall and 4-0 in Big 12 play. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the game with a shoulder injury on the opening drive and was replaced by junior Shane Buechele. Buechele, who saw his first action on the field since the Longhorns’ bowl game against Missouri last December, finished 20-34 with 184 yards and one touchdown. True freshman running back Keaontay Ingram surpassed the century mark on the ground, the first in his career, amassing 110 yards on 19 carries.
Texas scored all of its points in the first half and held a 23-10 lead over Baylor at the half. The Bears scored a touchdown in the third quarter to cut the lead to 23-17 and held possession of the ball on the final drive of the game. Todd Orlando’s defense held steady as Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer was pressured and threw a last-effort pass out of the Texas end zone as the game clock expired.
Place your vote for Texas’ top play in the win over Baylor.
Shane Buechele’s 44-yard TD pass to Collin Johnson (4:21 – 2nd quarter)
LJ Humphrey’s quarterback keeper for a TD (1:12 – 2nd quarter)
Caden Sterns intercepts Charlie Brewer (:44 – 2nd Quarter)
Texas defense pressures Brewer on final play of the game (:01 – 4th quarter)
Vote for your Top Play below.
Texas Football 2019 full schedule released
The Longhorns host LSU at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 7
The Big 12 Conference released the 2019 football schedules for all ten conference schools on Thursday. The Longhorns’ schedule includes three non-conference games, two of which are against teams from Louisiana. Notably, Texas will host the LSU Tigers on September 7th after a home season-opener against Louisiana Tech, and will complete non-conference play against former Southwest Conference opponent Rice at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Texas will host Texas Tech on Friday, November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving, to wrap up the season.
Full schedule can be found below.
2019 Texas Football Schedule
Aug. 31—Louisiana Tech
Sept. 14—at Rice (NRG Stadium)
Sept. 21—Oklahoma State
Oct. 5—at West Virginia
Oct. 12—vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Oct. 26—at TCU
Nov. 9—Kansas State
Nov. 16—at Iowa State
Nov. 23—at Baylor
Nov. 29—Texas Tech
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Baylor
Texas narrowly escaped with a victory against Baylor on Saturday, and there are several areas that the Longhorns must clean up to stay atop the Big 12
Another week, another close ballgame that came down to the final drive for Texas. The Longhorns found themselves behind the eight ball when Sam Ehlinger exited the game with an injury in the 1st quarter, and Baylor ended up giving Texas all they could handle. Regardless, Texas is now 6-1 and sits alone atop of the Big 12 conference standings. The Longhorns will gladly welcome the bye week as they prepare for the final stretch of the season. Let’s take a look at the good and the bad from a 23-17 win over the Bears:
Texas finally has a 100-yard rusher
For the first time in the Tom Herman era, Texas had a 100-yard rusher. Freshman Keaontay Ingram finished the afternoon with 110 yards on 19 carries. It’s hard to believe it had been 20 games since the Longhorns had someone surpass the 100-yard rushing mark, but it is only appropriate Ingram was the one to break the streak. Ingram continues to see an uptick in touches and has proven to be the best running back on the roster.
Collin Johnson continues to dominate
Texas now has a good problem on their hands. Collin Johnson is playing himself into position to be a potential high NFL draft pick, and I don’t think you will find many people who are upset about it. Johnson has cemented himself as a number 1 receiver after turning in another great performance on Saturday, hauling in 11 receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. The biggest improvement he has made from his first two seasons is his physicality. Johnson has proven to be reliable going over the middle of the field while also also improving his ability beat corners off the line of scrimmage.
It’s hard to find a lot of negative when you look at Ryan Bujcevski’s stat line: 47.8 yards per punt and 3 punts inside the 20. Unfortunately, the stats do not tell the full story. Texas continues to have major issues getting punts off in a timely manner, and I am beginning to think it is more on Bujcevski than the protection unit. The Aussie takes far too long to get the ball off his foot once he receives the snap. Baylor nearly had a block yesterday, and it is a minor miracle the Longhorns have not had a punt blocked this year.
Opening drive scores
The Texas defense has had a tough time stopping opponents on their opening drives this season. In the 7 opening drives opponents have had against the Longhorns this year, 5 have ended in either a touchdown or field goal. Todd Orlando has stressed the importance of starting fast on defense, but a trend has emerged.
Cameron Dicker comes back to earth
Cameron Dicker carried over his momentum from his game winner against Oklahoma, going 3 for 3 on field goals in the first half, including a 47-yarder to end the half. The second half was a different story. Dicker missed a 34-yard attempt late in the 4th quarter that would have given Texas a 9-point lead. He followed it up with a miss from 51 yards. It has been a roller coaster ride for Tom Herman as he tries to manage the punting and kicking unit, but it’s hard to expect anything less since he is having to trot out a true freshman punter and kicker.
Zero second half points
The Longhorns had 5 drives in the second half — 2 ending in punts, 2 in missed field goals and one with an interception. Similar to the Kansas State game, the Texas offense moved the ball at times in the second half but were hurt by the inability to finish drives. Tom Herman and the offensive staff have shown improvements in making halftime adjustments, but the staff failed to put Shane Buechele and the offense in a position to finish off drives against a Baylor defense that ranked at or near the bottom of the Big 12 in nearly every major statistical category.
Sam Ehlinger’s injury
Texas fans now have a greater appreciation for Sam Ehlinger after watching the offense try to operate for almost 4 full quarters without him. Shane Buechele is considered a quality passer, but he fails to bring the running dimension to the offense that Ehlinger brings. The Longhorn offense is built around Ehlinger, and if he were to miss any extended period of time, it would not be good. If he is healthy enough for Oklahoma State, he needs to play. The Texas offense is not good enough to plug in the backup and rest the starter, even against a team like Oklahoma State.
Ehlinger’s MRI results show shoulder sprain
Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger left the Baylor game in the opening series after suffering a shoulder injury. Ehlinger left for the locker room to be evaluated and was replaced by backup Shane Buechele. He returned to the field but remained on the sideline with a headset on for the duration of the game. The Longhorns, behind Buechele, held on to defeat the Bears 23-17 and improved to 6-1 overall on the season.
In his postgame media availability, head coach Tom Herman expressed uncertainty about the injury to his sophomore quarterback, who led the Longhorns to five straight wins before the injury.
“I think any time you hurt a throwing shoulder, my level of concern is greater than zero, but I don’t know enough. I’ve got to be educated more on it.”
Ehlinger’s MRI results revealed a first degree sprained shoulder, which is good news for the Longhorns, who travel to Stillwater in two weeks to face Oklahoma State.
— Aaron Carrara (@AC_HornSports) October 14, 2018
Ehlinger has thrown for 1,534 yards and 11 touchdowns this season with just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 230 yards and 6 touchdowns.
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