The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma State Cowboys meet at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater on Saturday in a pivotal Big 12 matchup. Oklahoma State are ranked sixth in the nation going into this contest. I’m not so sure about sixth in the country. Oklahoma State are a good team, but there are plenty of teams that should probably be there instead of them. I have the Cowboys just outside of the top-10.
A blowout of Kansas and close wins over Tulsa and Iowa State don’t get me too excited. Their best win this season was a 27-13 win over West Virginia in their second game of the season. It has nevertheless been refreshing to see a team play defense in the Big 12. I don’t know how real Oklahoma State is yet. They haven’t played a dangerous offense thus far. In any event, a lot of Big 12 defenses will give up big chunk yardage to just about any team in the nation.
Oklahoma State has provided some pushback, which you typically don’t come to find in the Big 12. Texas used their week off to get their defense right before their confrontation against Baylor last weekend. The difference was night and day, as the Longhorns showed some fight finally. They were laughed off the field against Texas Tech, a mediocre TCU offense scored 33 points, and then a shootout against Oklahoma in a 53-45.
It takes longer than a week to repair a bad defense. However, from what I watched from Texas, much of it was just poor effort and form. Texas Tech did whatever they wanted to across the middle of the field. Baylor isn’t a high-octane offense by any means, but the Longhorns looked rejuvenated last week on defense. Will that carryover against the Cowboys this week?
Slow down running back Chuba Hubbard and they’re more than halfway to stopping Oklahoma State. Easier said than done, though. On the other side, Oklahoma State hasn’t seen a quarterback like Sam Ehlinger. If Oklahoma State is able to contain Ehlinger and the Texas offense, then you can start thinking of this Oklahoma State defense as being a good unit. Baylor did a pretty fine job last week, but how much of that was a lookahead spot for the Longhorns. Head below for our free Texas vs. Oklahoma State pick for October 31, 2020.
Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys NCAAF Betting Odds:
Texas vs. Oklahoma State Prediction:
Sam Ehlinger has passed for 1,481 yards with 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has also rushed for 293 yards and 7 touchdowns with his legs. Ehlinger is far from a burner running the football, but he is savvy and difficult to take down. Tim Tebow was the same way when he ran the ball. The Texas offense has scored 45 points while averaging 482 yards per game. The offense is a non-issue for the Longhorns. Baylor did a pretty fine job all things considered against Texas last week.
Ehlinger was held to 270 yards passing with a touchdown and interception. I don’t believe that Texas was opening the entire playbook up for that game, though. Tom Herman knew that he needed to save something for this week against Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have been stout defensively this season. They rank as one of the better units with just 303 yards conceded per game. With only 12 points allowed, the Oklahoma State defense has seemingly transformed into what appears like a powerhouse.
Is it all smoke and mirrors, though? The best offense that Oklahoma State has played is West Virginia and Iowa State. Note that Breece Hall of Iowa State ran all over the Oklahoma State defense last week. Hall ran for 185 yards and a touchdown on 9.2 yards per carry. For West Virginia, Leddie Brown ran for 104 yards on 4 yards per carry. That doesn’t seem too elite to me for a defense, despite what the numbers suggest right now.
Unlike Iowa State and West Virginia, the Longhorns have a quarterback that can make a team pay for playing too close to the line. I think Oklahoma State is going to have to creep up a bit to stop the three-headed pronged attack of Texas on the ground. Four if you want to include Ehlinger. On 22 carries per game, the Longhorns’ running backs are averaging 104 yards per game on the ground.
Oklahoma State has the edge on Texas defensively in this game. But Texas showed something last week against Baylor. Clearly something clicked for them during the week off. Containing Chuba Hubbard for four quarters isn’t going to happen, but they should be able to do a serviceable enough job to limit his ability. Spencer Sanders returned to the field in over a month against Iowa State. He was iffy with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions on 71% completions. Texas must be aware of his talent running the football, though.
Oklahoma State will have to prove that their defense is for real on Saturday. The onus is on them because this will be the only dangerous offense they’ve played so far this season. To an extent, the Cowboys should be able to play well, but Ehlinger should have the offense moving the football on Saturday. This should be a close one and likely one of the more entertaining games of Week 9. Taking the points looks like a good move.