The Red River Rivalry game is one of America’s most notable football pastimes and regardless that these teams may not be as powerful as in years past this 105th meeting between these programs will be sure to entertain. The (3-1) Texas Longhorns will look to add to their series lead against the (4-0) Oklahoma Sooners with their 60th win this Saturday afternoon at the Cottonbowl, kickoff slated for 3:30 PM EST. Last years meeting saw QB Sam Bradford get knocked out of the game after his shoulder injury was re-aggrevated and Texas provided a solid defensive effort and they prevailed 16-13. Although a loss never truly ruins a season, Texas needs to avoid another loss on the season to have any bowl aspirations, while Oklahoma can kiss any national championship dreams away if they fail to get by Texas, either way each team will be gunning for a win in this storied rivalry game.
The offense for the Texas Longhorns has not gotten on track with new quarterback Garrett Gilbert, he has the same number of touchdowns as interceptions (4) and doesn’t pose a threat to most defenses this year. Last week the Longhorns were embarrassed at home by a 34-12 “rear-end kicking”, as Texas coach Mack Brown exclaimed, a game full of defensive miscues and offensive turnovers on the part of the Longhorns. Texas (3-1) lost its first home game since 2007, when they lost to Kansas State, and scored its fewest points at home since a 12-7 loss to Texas A&M in 2006. QB Garret Gilbert ended the day 30-45 for 264 yards with a pick and a touchdown, he also committed a crucial fumble. Texas will hope to get back RB Cody Johnson who did not participate in last weeks defeat due to a high ankle sprain, the junior has 140 yards and two touchdowns on the year. The Longhorns defense ranks 33rd in the nation with 18 points allowed per game but they have not played a truly competitive match, although they lost to the UCLA Bruins last week, thus far this season. It will be interesting to see how this Texas defense holds up against QB Landry Jones and the rest of Oklahoma’s high paced offensive attack.
Judging by last year’s game tape, Oklahoma has little respect for the Longhorns’ vertical passing attack and should be less threatened this year with the struggling Texas pivot Garrett Gilbert in place. Defensive coordinator Brent Venables employed man-free coverage or match up zone a vast majority of the time and his cornerbacks didn’t seem too worried about giving a cushion against QB Colt McCoy last year. The Sooners defense will look to get after Gilbert early and often on Saturday as he already has 4 interceptions on the year and is being reverted to throwing short, quick routes. Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is one of the top passers in the nation thus far, throwing for 1,221 yards with nine scores and three interceptions and wide receiver Ryan Broyles has been almost unstoppable, averaging over 10 catches and 120 yards per game. The Sooners offense is extremely quick and has the ability to score at will, they rank 10th in the nation in passing yards and 36th in points per game with 34. The Sooners defense boasts power and speed, headlined by All-American candidates Travis Lewis and Jeremy Beal. Lewis is a monster in the middle, as the talented LB leads the team in tackles with 35. One of the nation’s top pass rushers, Beal has 20 stops, with seven coming behind the line of scrimmage, including 4.5 sacks. Oklahoma will look to keep pace in the race for the national championship game and come into this game as the clear favorite.
Texas vs Oklahoma Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Texas Longhorns +3.5
@ Oklahoma Sooners -3.5
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Texas vs Oklahoma Prediction for Week 5:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY) – The Sooners bring the more potent offense into this game and should be looking to avenge last years dismal performance in this marquee contest. Texas QB Garret Gibert has all the tools and ability to be a top collegiate pivot but he is still a year off and I see him struggling mightily in the Cottonbowl. Texas is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games and is 4-5-1 ATS in the last ten times these programs have hooked up. More interesting to note, Texas is 1-9 ATS when coming off a loss to an unranked, non-conference team in their last ten attempts. Jones and Broyles are one of the top pitch-and-catch combos in the country and it should be displayed this Saturday against an unknown and possibly suspect defense. That along with a steady diet of Murray on the ground should tip the scales in Oklahoma’s favor at the Cottonbowl in Dallas.
Game Total Prediction – The thing about hyped rivalry games is that teams are so determined to pursue victory and no player wants to make that crucial mistake that we see for at least the initial quarter both teams “feel” each other out. Meaning, teams involved in these huge, prominent games usually take a quarter, or so, to understand what their dealing with and then attack. In fact, from the three major rivalry games in the NCAA, the Ohio State – Michigan game, the Army – Navy, and the Red River Rivalry, the UNDER has occurred 11 times out of the last 15 games. The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Texas’s last 6 games, as well the total has gone UNDER in 4 of Texas’s last 6 games when playing Oklahoma. We also see that the total has gone UNDER in 10 of Oklahoma’s last 15 games. This game has all the makings to not exceed 45 points and I see a fairly scripted and managed approach by both teams. I recommend taking a look at the under in this southern flavored affair.
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