It is Texas-OU week. Not much else needs to be said. The Sooners will once again enter the Red River Showdown with an undefeated record, an explosive offense, and College Football Playoff aspirations. Let’s a look at what to expect from an Oklahoma offensive featuring several new faces.
After dealing with Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray the previous two seasons, the Longhorns will face another tough test on Saturday in Alabama graduate transfer Jalen Hurts. Hurts has picked up right where Mayfield and Murray left off, throwing for 1,523 yards and 16 touchdowns compared to just 2 interceptions through the first 5 games of the season. Hurts also leads the Sooners in rushing with 499 yards and has added 7 touchdowns on the ground.
Lincoln Riley continues to be among the brightest offensive coaches in the country, molding the Oklahoma offense around the strengths of his quarterback. The Sooners are humming along offensively despite some big changes in personnel, and the biggest reason the offense hasn’t missed a beat has to do with Oklahoma finding another difference-maker at QB.
The Sooners will spread their carries amongst 3 talented backs, led by junior Trey Sermon, who is averaging 7.7 yards per carry and has found the end zone 4 times. In recent weeks, junior college transfer Rhamondre Stevenson has really come on. Stevenson had 5 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown last week at Kansas.
The wildcard will be sophomore Kennedy Brooks, who did not play last weekend against the Jayhawks due to an injury suffered the previous week against Texas Tech. Riley said earlier in the week he did not expect the Brooks to miss significant time, so it would not be surprising to see him back on Saturday.
For Texas to have a chance at pulling the upset, they will have to find a way to slow down CeeDee Lamb, who has 439 yards receiving on the season along with 7 touchdowns. Lamb is one of the best receivers in the country and is averaging an impressive 24.4 yards per reception. The number 2 option for the Sooners is sophomore Charleston Rambo. Rambo has tallied 383 yards and 4 touchdowns.
A player to watch outside of Lamb and Rambo could be freshman Jadon Haselwood, who was rated as the best WR in the country in the 2019 class. Haselwood is tied with Rambo for second on the team in receptions with 14 and has seen his playing time increase in recent weeks.
The Sooners have been banged up along the offensive line and it is likely their biggest question mark as Saturday approaches. Lincoln Riley said in his weekly press conference on Monday that starting tackles Erik Swenson and Adrian Ealy are highly questionable with injuries. Both players missed the Kansas game. Oklahoma has had 5 different starting offensive line combinations in 5 games, so consistency has been a concern. After losing 4 starters from the 2018 squad to the NFL, there will be new faces up front protecting Jalen Hurts. The one returner is center Creed Humphrey, who is one of the best centers in the country. Keondre Coburn will have his hands full trying to find his way into the backfield. Redshirt freshman Brey Walker is a former 5-star recruit and received the start at RG last weekend. Graduate transfer RJ Proctor has the flexibility to play both tackle and guard so there is a good chance he will see extended action this weekend.
Despite some new faces, the Sooners offense is still as explosive as ever. The legs of Jalen Hurts provides a different dimension Lincoln Riley has been able to utilize. It appears the Sooners are using a lot more designed runs and aren’t afraid to let Hurts run between the tackles and use his size to his advantage. Texas is going to really miss Jalen Green this week. D’Shawn Jamison, Anthony Cook, and Kobe Boyce all played well against West Virginia, but the threat CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo present is unique. They will have to minimize their mistakes and coverage bust to give Texas a chance. If the Texas defense can hold down OU under 40 points, the Longhorns will have a great chance to win a game that is likely going to be a shootout.
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