The Red River Rivalry Preview
The second Saturday in October annually brings us what is arguably the greatest rivalry in all of sports. As a matter of fact, the only rivalry that comes close would be Navy vs Army for obvious reasons.
The Red River Rivalry brings out all the nasty, and hatred from the respective fan bases. This is a no holds barred, hatred from neighbors north and south of the red river.
With this in mind, let us dive into the onslaught in preview form referred to as the Red River Rivalry.
The Longhorns come into this battle with a record of four and one. The only blemish on their record is a 40-21 loss to Arkansas. Since the second half of that game, Texas changed quarterbacks. The quarterback change from Hudson Card to Casey Thompson seems to have energized this Texas squad.
Arguably the Longhorns have the most potent offense in the Big 12, if not nationally. Sparked by Thompson, the offense has been revitalized since the Arkansas loss. At the same time, Texas has what many feel is the most talented running back in the country in Bijan Robinson. The Longhorns have quality depth at running back as well in Roschon Johnson. Johnson is averaging 7.1 yards per carry on 32 carries.
As far as the receiving group, Texas is very talented. It appears the Longhorns have found a go-to receiver in Jordan Whittington. In addition, Texas has a returning producer in Joshua Moore. Also bolstering the offense at tight end are Cade Brewer and Jared Wiley.
As can be clearly seen, Texas has no problem moving the ball and scoring. Texas averages 268 yards per game on the ground, 204 yards through the air, and 43 points a game.
Without question, the weak spot for the Longhorns is on the defensive side of the ball. Despite allowing only 24 points a game, teams have been able to move the ball. On the positive side, Texas only has four turnovers in five games and is plus-four in turnover ratio.
After five games, despite being undefeated the Sooners have not lived up to the hype. Oklahoma did show signs of life in their most recent outing against Kansas State, at least on the offensive side.
However, the defense took a couple of large steps back. A similar effort will definitely produce a negative outcome this Saturday in Dallas.
As previously mentioned, the offense took a big step forward last Saturday. There wasn’t much negative that could be said about the offense’s most recent performance. If there was a negative, it would be the number of costly penalties.
On a positive note, Spencer Rattler showed signs as to why he was considered the Heisman trophy favorite coming into the season.
In the receiving group, Marvin Mims looked like the elite pass catcher he was expected to be coming into 2021.
In the running back room, Kennedy Brooks has started to look like the all-conference back that he was prior to sitting out last season.
By the same token, none of these positive steps could occur without the improved performance of the offensive line. The offensive line gave Rattler time and opportunity to find open receivers, as well as creating space for Brooks to have a successful day on the ground.
As much as the offense improved, the defense regressed that much and more. Responsibility for the poor play needs to be placed at the feet of the players.
There is simply too much depth and talent on this side of the ball to play so poorly.
Absolutely no group on the defense played well Saturday. The defense tackled poorly, played with little effort, and was simply dominated by a far less talented offense.
Simply stated, the defense must play up to their talent level this Saturday.
The final word
In conclusion, the Sooners must start playing up to the level of talent on this team. Without a doubt, they showed improvement offensively last Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas. Although this may be true, it’s time for the defense to follow suit. More than anything else, the defense needs to play with effort and heart.
Above all else, this is the week for Oklahoma to put everything together on both sides of the ball.
If the Sooners play like they are capable of, it will be an Oklahoma domination of Texas in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.