Staff Predictions: Oklahoma Part II
For the first time since 1903, Texas and Oklahoma will meet for the second time in a single season. Who will come out victorious in the battle for the Big 12 title?
Texas faces Oklahoma more than once in a single season for the first time since 1903. In their first meeting, the Longhorns played spoiler to Oklahoma’s undefeated season and came out on top 48-45 thanks to a last-second field goal by Cameron Dicker. The rematch means much more, however. Texas once again has a chance to play spoiler; this time, it can spoil Oklahoma’s chances to attend the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma has solidified itself as the No. 1 offense in the country, but the Texas is much improved since the two teams last met in October. Our staff weighs in on the possibility of Texas beating Oklahoma twice in one season:
Beating OU once was a tall task in the Cotton Bowl. Beating them a second time in Dallas will be an even harder goal to achieve. It will be tough for both teams to catch each other off guard in this matchup given the familiarity they have with one another, but I have a feeling we will see the twists and turns we’ve grown accustomed to in the Red River Rivalry.
It’s a given that both offenses are going score plenty in this matchup. Oklahoma’s defensive struggles are well documented coming into this one, and the Texas defense has had its issues as well this season. I’m betting we won’t be seeing the punters too often.
The key is going to be which defense can come up with some timely turnovers or stops and give their offense the upper hand. In the first act we saw Kyler Murray turn the ball over twice, and we saw the Oklahoma defense force two key turnovers against West Virginia that ended up being the difference. Both units are capable of being opportunistic, but will they prove to be when they are in position to make the plays? We shall see on Saturday.
So now comes decision time. This is essentially a coin flip decision for me. I think this has a chance to come down to who has the ball last — similar to the first matchup.
I’m going to gamble this week and show a little faith in the Longhorns.
I’m taking the Longhorns to win in another shootout and to knock off the Sooners for the second time this year. It won’t be the prettiest, but pretty wins don’t matter this time of year. Just win baby.
Prediction: Texas 50 Oklahoma 48
Tom Herman hasn’t been shy about admitting that this Texas team is currently overachieving. Not many expected Texas to be in this position, and no one expected it after Week 1. The Longhorns have defied the odds and are now 1 win away from their first conference championship since 2009.
The biggest factor in this game that I don’t think many people are taking into account is Texas has Malcolm Roach back. Roach missed the October matchup due to a foot injury. Roach’s presence along the defensive line has been felt since his return, especially in the last few weeks.
I think Texas will come up with just enough stops on defense, and the Longhorns offense will punish an Oklahoma defense that pretty much solely relies on turnovers as their only form of stops. Call me crazy, but I think Texas gets their biggest win in almost a decade.
Prediction: Texas 42, Oklahoma 38
The old saying about never wanting to play a team twice in a season, especially one that you beat, holds true in this case. The Longhorns handed the Sooners their only loss of the season back in October, but all Oklahoma has done since is win — and put up incredibly impressive offensive numbers. Texas has had spurts of “wowing” on offense, but not to the level of Kyler Murray and his offense. This is a rivalry game, but it has a different feel. No Cotton Bowl, no hallowed ground, etc. Texas keeps it close in the first half but the Sooners end up pulling away in the 4th quarter to win this one.
Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Texas 38
Texas has improved by a good margin on both sides of the ball since they last met Oklahoma in October. Oklahoma has improved offensively, but not defensively. If Texas were fully healthy coming into this matchup, my prediction would likely be different. However, Sam Ehlinger is still nursing an AC sprain in his shoulder and won’t be 100% come Saturday. Brandon Jones is going to play on a sprained ankle. Keaontay Ingram and Tre Watson are banged up. The list goes on and on.
Fortunately for Texas, the injuries won’t slow them down much. They have a desire and passion that knows no bounds. This game will be a fight, I just don’t believe the Texas defense will generate enough stops in the end.
Have I been wrong? Yes. In fact, more so than anyone else this season. This team has proven me wrong time and time again, so why should tomorrow be any different? It may not be. If Texas can continue its offensive momentum from October’s matchup and force Kyler Murray into making mistakes, Breckyn Hager will finally get to pull out the hair clippers.
Prediction: Oklahoma 45, Texas 42
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