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Game Preview: #19 Texas Longhorns vs #7 Oklahoma Sooners

Can the Longhorns break a 2-game skid to the Sooners?

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports Images

The Texas Longhorns head north in Week 6 to face longtime rival Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.  Saturday’s Red River Showdown pits two capable, young coaches of high profile programs against one another, with the winner claiming the edge on a potential Big 12 title run.  Sooner Coach Lincoln Riley got the best of Tom Herman last year 29-25, behind the play of his quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. In the last 10 contests between the two schools, Oklahoma holds a 6-4 advantage, including the last two games.  This year marks the first time both teams have held national rankings since the 2012 season, in which Oklahoma drummed the Longhorns 63-21.

This season is different than the last several, especially for Texas.  Tom Herman’s team has won four straight, and the Longhorns won’t be starting a true freshman quarterback in this year’s game – something they did in the last two meetings with Oklahoma.

The stakes are high for both programs.

Texas looks to win five straight for the first time since 2009 and Oklahoma hopes to continue its recent success against the Longhorns, maintaining an undefeated season. Halfway through the regular season, the winner of this game will be in position to make a charge at a spot in the College Football Playoffs.

What:  Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big-12)
When:  Saturday, October 5, 2018
Time:  11:00 AM CST
Venue:  Cotton Bowl
Location: Dallas, Texas
Television: FOX

THE COACHES

Oklahoma Sooners

Head Coach:  Lincoln Riley
Head Coaching Experience: 2nd year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Oklahoma:  2
Career Record:  17-2
Career Record at Oklahoma:  17-2

Texas Longhorns

Head Coach:  Tom Herman
Head Coaching Experience: 4th year as a head coach
Years as Head Coach at Texas:  2
Career Record:  33-11
Career Record at Texas:  11-7

Can the Texas Stop Kyler Murray?

The Sooners rack up an impressive 523 yards of offense per game, largely thanks to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Murray has thrown for 1460 yards and 17 touchdowns through five games and has also added 4 rushing touchdowns.  He has a long arm and has only thrown two interceptions on the season, but the Texas defense has come on strong as of late. Texas defensive coordinator Todd Orlando has groomed an impressive unit that ranks 30th in total defense and is stingy against the run. A hungry Texas secondary highlighted by Kris Boyd, Caden Sterns and Brandon Jones, will have their hands full against Oklahoma wideouts CeeDee Lamb and Marquise Brown.  While Murray can’t be shut down completely, Texas can limit his success by putting pressure on him and forcing him to make mistakes. Texas head coach Tom Herman is confident his defensive line can get the job done on Saturday.

“And so Breckyn and Charles and Ta’Quon and Nelly (Chris Nelson) and Gerald, those are all guys that are up for the challenge and they’ve gotten and Marqez, I can’t forget Marqez is playing about 30 snaps a game, too.  So those are all guys that we believe can run the passer and can hopefully do a good job against their quarterback.”

The Longhorns’ run defense is stingy, allowing only 115 yards on the ground per game. If Texas can generate the pass rush, expect Texas to hold Oklahoma’s offense somewhat in-check.

Will Texas move the ball on Oklahoma’s suspect defense?

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger will make his second start against the Sooners on Saturday.  Ehlinger threw for 278 yards and a touchdown in the loss last season, but the sophomore has made significant progress this season.  He has thrown for 9 touchdowns and rushed for three, amassing 1185 passing yards.  Ehlinger’s top receiving targets, LJ Humphrey, Collin Johnson and Devin Duvernay have the potential for big plays against a Sooner secondary that gives up 252 yards in the air.  The Texas running back corps has yet to have an individual rusher break the 100-yard mark, and don’t expect that to change on Saturday.  Oklahoma gives up an average of 153 rushing yards per game, and expect true freshman Keaontay Ingram to push the fold and lead Texas in rushing.  The Longhorns need a big game from Ehlinger and company to neutralize the Kyler Murray factor.

Special Teams needs to be Special

The last two games have been decided by 5 points each, and the last four games have been decided by 7 points or less.  Saturday will likely be more of the same, and a punt return or a field goal could easily be the difference in the game.  Texas kicker Cameron Dicker is 5-8 in field goal attempts, while Oklahoma’s Austin Siebert is 4-6 with a long of 42 yards.  Freshman punter Ryan Bujcevski has had his share of growing pains this season with tipped and muffed punts, and the Longhorns will need solid play from the true freshman to win the field position battle.

Hager to Wear #60

Senior defensive lineman Breckyn Hager will wear No. 60 in honor of legendary Longhorn Tommy Nobis. Following Nobis’ passing last December, the entire program wore ‘60’ decals on the back of their helmets for the Texas Bowl, while Hager also wore Nobis’ retired No. 60 with the permission of his widow, Lynn Nobis.

Hager, whose father Britt donned the No. 60 jersey in honor of Nobis from 1984-88 during his All-American career, will once again wear the jersey on Saturday.

Interesting Facts

  • Texas and Oklahoma will meet for the 113th time on Saturday in the AT&T Red River Showdown.
  • The Longhorns enter the matchup winners of four straight, with an overall record of 4-1 and a 2-0 mark in the Big 12 Conference. UT defeated Kansas State on the road, 19-14, on Saturday for their first win in Manhattan since 2002.
  • Oklahoma is 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big 12. They defeated Baylor 66-33 last Saturday.
  • For the first time since 2011, College GameDay will be live from a Texas Football game as they broadcast from the State Fair.
  • The series, which began in 1900, has been played in Dallas since 1912 and at the State Fair since 1929.
  • Only Texas A&M (118 times) has played the Longhorns on more occasions. Since 1900, the only years Texas and Oklahoma have not played were 1918, ’20, ’21 and 1924-28.
  • The first matchup between the Texas and Oklahoma in 1900 ended with a 28-2 Longhorns’ victory. Texas is the only Big 12 Conference team that holds an all-time series lead against the Sooners.

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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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Big 12

Texas Basketball Tied for 4th in Big 12 Preseason Coaches Poll

Kansas Jayhawks take the top spot

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports

The Big 12 Conference released its preseason coaches team rankings for the upcoming basketball season on Friday. The Longhorns find themselves tied for 4th, with the TCU Horned Frogs, in the field of ten teams.  The Kansas Jayhawks top the poll for the eighth consecutive season, collecting all first-place votes and finishing with 81 total points.  Kansas State and West Virginia round out the top 3, with 72 and 61 points respectively.

The Big 12 will hold its preseason media day on Wednesday, October 24 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, site of the 2019 Conference Tournament.

The Longhorns kick off their season against Eastern  on Tuesday, November 6th against Eastern Illinois at the Frank Erwin Center.

Complete Big 12 Coaches Preseason Poll

RankSchoolPoints
1Kansas (9)81
2Kansas State72
3West Virginia61
T4Texas54
T4TCU54
6Iowa State41
7Texas Tech36
8Oklahoma21
9Baylor20
10Oklahoma State10

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Big 12

Texas Football 2019 full schedule released

The Longhorns host LSU at Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 7

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports

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. 7—LSU
Sept. 14—at Rice (NRG Stadium)
Sept. 21—Oklahoma State
Oct. 5—at West Virginia
Oct. 12—vs Oklahoma (Cotton Bowl)
Oct. 19—Kansas
Oct. 26—at TCU
Nov. 9—Kansas State
Nov. 16—at Iowa State
Nov. 23—at Baylor
Nov. 29—Texas Tech

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Seahorn’s Five Thoughts: Baylor

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John Gutierrez, USA TODAY Sports

Things didn’t go according to plan from the jump with Sam Ehlinger suffering a shoulder injury during the first series of the football game. Yet the Longhorns managed to gut out a win against the pesky Bears of Waco and move to 6-1 on the season. The Longhorns have now won 6 in a row and still have a chance to accomplish the goals they set out for at the start of the season. The main thing right now is for them to get healthy and nurse some bumps and bruises before heading to Stillwater to take on the Cowboys.

Here’s what I’ve got on my mind after today’s tight contest against Baylor.

  • It Wasn’t Pretty… but it was a Win

This game had a hard left turn in the first offensive series for Texas, with Ehlinger suffering a shoulder injury that would eventually rule him out for the rest of the game. This meant backup quarterback Shane Buechele was called in cold to guide the ship for the rest of the contest. Buechele hasn’t received a game snap all year long, and was thrown right into the pressure cooker. Thankfully the junior quarterback has several starts under his belt and he was able to lean on that experience to help get the Longhorns across the finish line today with a win today.

Don’t get it twisted, though. Ehlinger going out early completely changed the dynamics of this ball game and how the Texas offense typically operates. The designed quarterback runs were out the window, Ehlinger’s ability to improvise and hurt a defense with his feet was gone, and most importantly, the steady hand that has guided the Texas offense all year long was gone. Nobody really knew what to expect when Buechele was thrust into action this afternoon. He made some nice throws, led some solid drives, but he also had one interception on a ball that he overshot on a post, resulting in points for Baylor.

On the flip side of things the Texas defense had a solid day at the office, but with the offense handling some adversity, they had a tall task of slowing down a capable offense. The secondary had some forgettable moments today (particularly on third down and long), but at the end of the day they were able to hold the Baylor offense to 17 points and 328 yards of offense. When you take into account that a good chunk of that came on the final drive when the Bears started in the shadows of their own goal posts, then it’s not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

This wasn’t a style-point game like many hoped it would be and it wasn’t always pretty, but it was still a win nonetheless and you will take them however you can get them.

  • Keaontay Ingram Goes Over the Century Mark

Coming into the contest, Texas had yet to tally a 100-yard rusher, but that came to end via freshman running back Keaontay Ingram. Ingram led the Texas rushing attack to the tune of 110 yards on 19 carries (5.78 YPC) and he dazzled with some really nice runs, showing off his vision and patience in the process.

Ingram flashes remarkable traits and often seems to get positive yardage when it looks like he has no room to run. There were times where I could see penetration from the Baylor front before Ingram got to the LOS and he still managed to squeeze through the hole and pop out on the other side. Mind you, this is all transpiring after Tom Herman said that Ingram isn’t playing at 100% from the injury that caused him to miss a game earlier this year.

The future is bright for #26 in burnt orange, who looks better every week.

  • Dicker the Kicker is Mortal

Freshman kicker Cameron Dicker showed today that even after draining a game-winning kick against Oklahoma last week and making three field goals afternoon, he is in fact capable of missing. The freshman from Lake Travis started the day 3 for 3 before missing two kicks (both his shortest and longest attempts) that would have put the game out of reach for Baylor.

It may sound like I’m nitpicking here on a freshman, but when points were at a premium like they were today, you have to push one of those through and give yourself a little more wiggle room.

  • The Secondary has Some Sore Spots That Need Addressing

The Texas defense only allowed 240 yards passing today against a pretty good offense, but they were also fortunate in some cases that it wasn’t more. This is going to feel like I’m calling some guys out, but when Baylor needed a big play or was in a crucial spot they seemed to always go at whoever PJ Locke or Davante Davis was covering.

Both Davis and Locke have spilled blood for the program and have been solid citizens, but it seems obvious at times that teams are picking on them. I’ve been quietly wondering if the defensive staff would start working in some alternative options, but as the season has moved forward they’ve continued to roll with their guys.

I don’t have access to how practices play out, so I’m not sure if guys like Josh Thompson or Anthony Cook aren’t doing enough to unseat the veterans, but I know what I see on Saturdays hasn’t been great. Eventually it could get this team beat if the right opponent presents itself.

  • The Injury of Sam Ehlinger

I hate ending on a sour note, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a tad bit concerned about the injury that kept Ehlinger out for essentially the entire ball game. When Ehlinger emerged from the locker room, most thought he was just getting the cut on his hand addressed, but others noticed he was not really moving his shoulder as he moved around. Herman addressed the media after the game and disclosed that Ehlinger suffered an AC sprain in his throwing shoulder, and that they were hopeful that he could be throwing by the end of the week.

The silver lining is that Texas is heading into a bye week, so Texas has an extra week to get 11 healthy. If he does have to miss a game, they have an extra week to get Buechele reps and game ready for road test against a team that Texas has struggled with in recent contests.

The down side of things is that injury of this nature could take several weeks to fully heal, and with Ehlinger being as important as he is to the team, you may not want to risk further aggravating the injury. Needless to say, this is going to be something to monitor closely as the matchup gets closer.

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Game Day: #9 Texas vs. Baylor

The #9 Texas Longhorns host the Baylor Bears at 2:30 PM on Saturday at DKR

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The #9 Texas Longhorns look to continue their winning ways as they host Big 12 opponent Baylor on Saturday. Texas holds it first Top 10 ranking since 2010, and has beaten the Bears three straight, including a 38-7 win last season in Waco.

With a win today, the Longhorns become bowl eligible and remain undefeated in conference play as they head into a bye week. At the conclusion of the first quarter, the The Texas football program will celebrate the 20th anniversary of former Texas running back Ricky Williams’ Heisman trophy winning season.

The matchup between Texas and Baylor will be televised nationally on ESPN.

What:  Texas Longhorns (5-1, 3-0 Big 12) vs. Baylor Bears (4-2, 2-1 Big-12)
When:  Saturday, October 12, 2018
Time:  2:30 PM CST
Venue:  Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, Texas
Television: ESPNLast Meeting: Texas defeated Baylor 38-7 (10/28/17, Waco)
All-time series record: Texas leads Baylor 77-26-4

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