To kickoff the Big 12 portion of the regular season schedule, the Texas Longhorns are set to battle the Oklahoma State Cowboys at home. The Week 4 showdown against the Cowboys will be the second night game under the lights at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium so far this season. The other was the top 10 matchup against the No. 4 LSU Tigers back on Sep. 7.
However, this game against Oklahoma State carries almost as much intrigue as LSU did. While Oklahoma State isn’t LSU in terms of talent, there is still plenty on the line for the Longhorns this weekend. Oklahoma State has won the last five meetings against Texas at DKR and seven of the last nine in total.
Head coach Tom Herman and his ‘Horns could break the trend of getting stifled by Mike Gundy’s Pokes this year and end a four-game losing streak in this series.
Something feels different about this matchup against Oklahoma State – more different than it has for the last decade. Texas has a quarterback it can rely on to win them games in junior star Sam Ehlinger. The 45-38 loss to LSU almost saw Ehlinger single-handedly bring the Longhorns back for the win in the second half.
Ehlinger will face redshirt freshman Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders on Saturday night. Sanders had mixed results so far this season, but the Pokes are 3-0 heading into the Big 12 opener. Granted, those wins were against sub-par competition with the Oregon State Beavers, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, and FCS McNeese State.
But there should be a chip on Sanders’ shoulder in this game since he didn’t receive an offer from the Longhorns during his recruitment. Sanders was the No. 8 ranked dual-threat quarterback coming out of high school and is one of the highest-rated at his position ever to sign with Oklahoma State. That is at least since recruiting rankings were a mainstream entity.
Sanders is a product of Denton-Ryan High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. He was also Mr. Texas High School at one point. The offers he received were highlighted by the Texas A&M Aggies, TCU Horned Frogs, Penn State Nittany Lions, Missouri Tigers, and South Carolina Gamecocks. But he started to catch traction with Oklahoma State in 2016, before eventually committing well ahead of National Signing Day 2018.
One clear gap on his offer sheet is the biggest program in this state and one of the most prominent in the entire country. The Longhorns didn’t send Sanders an offer and didn’t really give him that a look in general. In-state rival Oklahoma also didn’t send Sanders an offer.
What makes the motivation level even higher for Sanders could be the fact that current Texas offensive coordinator Tim Beck scouted him when he was with the Ohio State Buckeyes. But he didn’t receive an offer from them either. The coaching regime for the Longhorns have multiple sources that Sanders could feel overlooked him.
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