One of the more attractive plays on the docket for Saturday afternoon (12:00pm ET) is the 109th annual Red River Shootout between longtime Big-12 rivals the Texas Longhorns (2-3) and the 11th ranked Oklahoma Sooners (4-1) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX. Texas lost at home to Baylor last week 28-7, and their wins have come over Kansas (23-0) in week 5 and North Texas (38-7) in their opener. Oklahoma suffered their first loss of the season last week on the road to TCU 37-33, the Sooners had steamrolled all of their opponents prior to that including Tennessee (34-10) in week 3 and West Virginia (45-33) in week 5.
The Longhorns rank 114th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 18.4 points per game and 114th in total offense with an average of 319.2 yards per contest. Tyrone Swoopes has taken the reins under center with starter David Ash retiring due to concussion issues, and he has led Texas to a paltry 13.5 PPG since taking over. Texas ranks 21st nationally in scoring defense with 19.2 PPG allowed and 29th in total defense with 333.6 YPG allowed.
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Oklahoma ranks 14th nationally in scoring offense with 42.4 PPG and 27th nationally in total offense with 488.2 YPG. Mobile QB Trevor Knight is the Sooners triggerman, and he comes into this game off of a poor performance last week against TCU in which he completed only 40% of his passes and threw 2 INTs. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard is a big-play target who has 30 receptions for 651 yards and 3 TDs this season. The Sooners have strong special teams with kicker Michael Hunnicutt hitting on 31 of 35 field goal attempts over the last two seasons. Oklahoma ranks 31st nationally in scoring defense with 20.6 PPG allowed and 53rd in total defense with 373.6 YPG allowed.
Texas vs. Oklahoma Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Texas Longhorns +14.5
@Oklahoma Sooners -14.5
Over 47.5 (-110)
Under 47.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Texas vs. Oklahoma Pick:
Oklahoma has never lost back-to-back Big12 games under Bob Stoops and they would seem to have a huge advantage here, but in their last meeting as season ago the Longhorns shocked OU 36-20. Oklahoma has every reason to come out strong in this game and put away Texas, they will be angry about their upset loss last season and their loss last week to TCU and the Longhorns should be on the receiving end of their vengeance.
Texas has had trouble mustering any type of offense this season with their injury issues under center and along the line, and that should not change much here. Oklahoma should be able to pound the inexperienced Swoopes, who admitted that he was nervous against Baylor after getting hit. Oklahoma’s running game should wear down the Longhorns and eventually open up the passing game for Knight who should bounce-back from last week’s performance. When the passing lanes open up, the rout should be on. The Sooners are stronger in all 3 phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams and have every reason to play hard with their Big 12 title and national playoff chances still very much alive. Oklahoma should cover this one with room to spare, take the Sooners here.