Game of the Week: Texas vs. Oklahoma
Now that we have entered the month of October, the college football outlook is becoming a lot clearer with conference play in full swing. Week six of the season is highlighted by three top-25 matchups.
The matchup that jumps out is the Red River Rivalry between the No. 19 Texas Longhorns and No.7 Oklahoma Sooners. One of the best rivalries in the sport will have their 113th meeting this Saturday at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
After starting the season with a disappointing loss to Maryland for the second straight year, Coach Tom Herman and his Longhorns have rebounded with four straight wins, including over two ranked opponents in No. 22 USC and No. 17 TCU.
Now up to No. 19 in the polls, the Longhorns are riding high and having some people believe that Texas may actually be back this year. But this showdown with the Sooners will really test how far this Texas team has come and if it is ready to win the Big 12 in 2018.
The Longhorns' offense is led by sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who has thrown for 1,185 yards and nine scores compared to only two interceptions. What makes Ehlinger a dynamic quarterback is his ability to make plays with his feet. Ehlinger has run for three scores this season and made several big plays in wins over USC and TCU.
Texas’ defense is what makes them a top-25 team in the country though. The Longhorns' defense is allowing only 19.8 points per game this season but will face one of the most lethal offenses in the country in Oklahoma. Junior safety Brandon Jones is one of the leaders on this Longhorns' defense and is their leading tackler with 35 on the season.
Many people thought Oklahoma would take a step back this season with the loss of 2017 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield. However, the Sooners have looked as strong as ever with a new quarterback in junior Kyler Murray.
Murray and the Sooners have rolled to a 5-0 start in 2018 but now face their first big test of the season. Murray is considered one of the Heisman favorites so far this season with his outstanding 17 touchdowns to only two interceptions. The junior has filled in admirably for Mayfield and has the Sooners scoring at a rate of 48.6 points per game, good for 8th in the nation.
The Sooners' defense has been a little vulnerable this season but has not been a major problem yet because Oklahoma can just outscore everyone. However, Texas may be able to limit the Sooner offense a little this weekend so look for players like junior defensive backs Parnell Motley and Chanse Sylvie to force Longhorn quarterback Sam Ehlinger into some mistakes.
This rivalry always seems to be close and competitive no matter how good either team is. This game now has more meaning now that Texas seems to be on the rise again though while Oklahoma is one of the elite programs in the country.
Texas is maybe still a year or two away from being an elite program again and while this game will be very close, Murray and that explosive Sooners' offense will be too much for the Longhorns to handle in the end.
Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Texas 28
Camden Tofil is a sophomore majoring in advertising. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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