The Texas Longhorns are currently riding a four-game winning streak, the Saturday’s Red River Showdown meeting the the Oklahoma Sooners will provide Texas with its tallest test to date.
The Sooners are currently 5-0 and sitting at No. 7 nationally, thanks in large part to Heisman candidate quarterback Kyler Murray, who’s orchestrating one of the more prolific offenses in all of college football. The Burnt Orange Nation staff got together to debate whether or not the Horns can do enough to to slow Lincoln Riley’s explosive offense, whether or not Texas will be back with a win, and more.
The Red River Showdown is almost always an instant classic. What’s your favorite RRS memory, and where will you be watching it on Saturday?
Cody Daniel — Co-Editor: Beating top-ranked OU in 2008 is a pretty easy choice, but I was also a huge fan over Charlie Strong’s lone win over Oklahoma, because not only did OU lose to a 1-4 Texas team, but I wanted Strong to succeed in Austin and him crowdsurfing his players was one of the better moments in an otherwise rough three years.
Corey Elliot — Contributor: 2008 is the obvious choice, for so many reasons. But I like 2013 and 2015. Those two wins in this game were, as Bret Bielema would say, borderline erotic.
I’ll be in section 9, row 2 on Saturday. Also borderline erotic.
Gerald Goodridge — Contributor: Defensive tackle Rod Wright is one of my all-time favorite Longhorns, so it has to be the scoop-and-score in 2005. Brian Robison came off the edge completely untouched, annihilated Rhett Bomar and the ball popped loose. Wright barely broke stride, and went 67 yards to the house. Doesn’t get much better than a lineman touchdown.
Anthony Rizzo — Contributor: Beating No. 1 Oklahoma in 2008 and Charlie Strong’s lone win against the Sooners. But, Daje Johnson’s 85-yard punt return for a touchdown is my all-time favorite play from this rivalry. Sadly, I’ll be watching this one with a bunch of non-Texas fans but you best believe I’ll be acting like I’m at the game in Dallas.
Wes Crochet — Contributor: Look, I love the Shipley punt return but I’m going with a tie between the Quan Cosby block that wrecked an OU defender and the Chris Whaley pick-six with a side of a Blake Bell QB knock down because who doesn’t love a big-boy TD and some Sooners hitting the grass?
Excluding a layover or driving through the state on your way to another state, what reason, if any, would you ever need in order to spend an entire day in the state of Oklahoma?
Cody: To watch Kevin Durant drop 40 on Oklahoma City and end the Thunder’s season with a 4-0 first round sweep.
Corey: Kevin Durant calls me and asks me to go back to Oklahoma with him to spend an entire day vandalizing things.
Gerald: Since I met my wife in Oklahoma and currently live there….
Anthony: Maybe to experience a football game in Stillwater then dip right after.
Wes: Probably if no other state had a casino. Otherwise, no thanks.
First Texas beat No. 22 USC, then it beat No. 18 TCU, then it beat Kansas State on the road where it hasn’t won since 2002. After what you’ve seen throughout the last three weeks, where is your confidence level heading into Saturday?
Cody: I’m confident enough that I believe Texas can win this game, but not confident enough that I believe it will. That said, I’m not entirely sold on OU just yet, and unless previous years, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Texas is the better team throughout.
Corey: This is a game where I will never be confident. I might feel good about Texas’ chances, but never confident. I think I feel good about where this Texas team is at the moment and how they’ve been preparing, and I believe that will translate to a good outing on Saturday.
Gerald: I am never confident about this game. Even though I think this is the best Texas team we’ve seen in a while, it’s just so hard to predict how each team will come out and play on Saturday.
Anthony: I’m always confident in Texas-Oklahoma being a great game that lives up to expectations. If Texas is able to control the pace of this game and sustain quality drives, I believe this one will come down to the wire.
Wes: I see progress and I also see a team with areas that still need to be improved upon. I’m confident Texas can put up a fight as long as Oklahoma doesn’t turn this into a shootout. If this turns into a shootout, I’m not confident Texas can generate enough offense to take this one.
Ehlinger often plays his best on the biggest stage… What will Sam’s stat line be on Saturday, and will he be able to outperform Kyler Murray?
Cody: I think we’ll see something along the lines of 24-of-33 for 291 yards, 2 TDs, 52 rushing yards and another score on the ground. I think Murray will have a stat line that’s a bit more impressive, both through the air and on the ground.
Corey: If Sam has his best game ever as a Longhorn — and I’m not exaggerating — the Texas defense is good enough that it could equate to Sam’s stat line looking stronger than Murray’s. I say Sam finishes with 298 yards with 3 TDs and he rushes for 60 yards.
Gerald: I think Sam lives for this game and will show out, 24-35, 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 13 times for 52 yards and a score.
Anthony: 22-of-31 passing with 264 passing yards, 35 rushing yards, and three total touchdowns. Kyler Murray is too explosive and athletic to be held in check so his statline will be slightly better than Sam’s.
Wes: Let’s goes with 23 of 37, 261 pass yards, 2 pass TD’s, 0 INTs and 16 rush attempts for 44 yards and 1 TD.
Oklahoma is putting up video game numbers and sits at No. 7 in the country, but the Sooners defense is really suspect and OU hasn’t exactly played anyone of note before Saturday. Is the Crimson and Cream fool’s gold?
Cody: I’m not sold yet that Oklahoma belongs in the same conversation at Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, etc, but I do think this is a really good team that should be able to enjoy a fairly easy path to the CFP if it wins on Saturday. West Virginia still looms to end the season, but I think OU will overall benefit from a tremendously manageable schedule that may overshadow some weaknesses that would be exposed if the Sooners played an SEC schedule.
Corey: Nah. OU is a good football team. But I think the Sooners are undeservingly raised up as a team that’s just leaps and bounds better than Texas, and I think that’s a trash narrative.
Gerald: I think OU is the real deal. Murray is as good as advertised and they have a ton of speed on offense. I think they’re vulnerable defensively in the run game, which is where Texas could find its biggest advantage.
Anthony: No, Oklahoma is legit and talented all-around. They have so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball that they’re good enough to put up points on any defense in the country. There’s a reason why the Sooners are consistently atop the Big 12 every year, they always reload with talent.
Wes: No, because it’s still a roster built with talented recruits, a quarterback that can make a lot of throws, and a head coach who can design and call plays well. Oklahoma may not be clearly built for a national title game, and the Sooners may not even with the Big 12 title, but this team can make waves and compete in this conference.
Oklahoma’s offense is pretty remarkable, but even dating back to his time at Houston, Todd Orlando has basically been Lincoln Riley’s Kryptonite. OU is averaging 523 yards and 49 points per game. What does Texas limit the Sooners to on Saturday?
Cody: I have OU pegged for 31 points, and I think they’ll be limited by about 100 yards below their average and end up with about 430 yards.
Corey: I think Oklahoma will not score more than 24 points. Longhorns hold them to 350 yards. Defense is going to make a huge difference on Saturday because OU hasn’t played one as good as Texas’.
Gerald: 35 points, 445 yards.
Anthony: Under 30 points. Texas cannot afford to play behind and be in a shootout type of game.
Wes: 467 total yards, 34 points.
I hate that I’m asking this, but I have to: If the Longhorns beat the Sooners, is Texas back, folks?
Cody: I think yes in the sense that Texas would finally be back on the national scene as one of college football’s better teams, but no in the sense that “Texas is back” makes folks think of Texas’ glory days throughout the 2000s, and this team wouldn’t be anywhere near those levels.
Corey: No, because I need to see a win in Stillwater as well against a good Oklahoma State team. But I’ll give you this: if Texas wins Saturday they shouldn’t lose more than one more game the rest of this season. That will be the expectation, at least. They win Saturday and they split Ok State/West Va.
Gerald: I think “on the way” is probably more accurate. With that being said, 5-1 would be Texas’ best start since 2009’s national title run, so definitely close.
Anthony: Yes. A 5-1 start with three wins over ranked opponents qualifies as back for a program that hasn’t seen that kind of success in a while.
Wes: No, because my definition of being back is winning the conference and being ready to compete for it again the following year. A win against Oklahoma does gets them down that road towards that goal further, though.
Prediction time: Does Texas snap a losing streak for the third time in three weeks?
Cody: Again, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Texas does win and this game is always close, but I think the Sooners offense will just make one too many plays and that will be the difference.
Corey: I have been bullish on Texas, but out of genuine belief it shouldn’t be reduced to that disappointing Maryland loss. I didn’t get the large wins I expected vs. Tulsa and K-State, but I called USC and TCU — games Texas just COULD NOT afford to lose. And therefore, I’m going with the same rationale: Texas wins this game because it absolutely has to: Texas 37 - OU 24.
Gerald: I hate myself for writing this and I will gladly catch every bit of flack I receive if I’m wrong, but I think it’s neck-and-neck and a late play by Murray wins it for OU 35-28.
Anthony: I’d love to say so, but Oklahoma will win a close one in a super entertaining ballgame. 24-21 Sooners.
: As much as I like see Oklahoma lose, especially to Texas, I’m sitting at Oklahoma 34, Texas 27.
BONUS: It’s 11:45 a.m. and….
Cody: OU, umm, what’s the word I’m looking for.... sucks.
Corey: OU sucks more than it did one minute ago when it sucked more than it’s ever sucked.
Gerald: OU still sucks.
Anthony: OU @#$%&!* sucks.
Wes: OU ssuuuccckkkkss.