The 12th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners look to bounce back from their first loss of the year when they meet up with the Texas Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl. The Red River Rivalry game is expected to go off on Saturday, October 14th at 3:30 p.m. EST and can be seen on ESPN. Coming into the BIG-12 match-up, Las Vegas has the Sooners as a -8 point favorite and the contest’s total sits at 65 points.
The Oklahoma Sooners had been undefeated before Iowa State went into Norman and handed them their first loss of the season 38-31. Now, the road to the College Football Playoff isn’t impenetrable, but it sure has gotten a lot rockier. The Sooners will have their work cut out for them because the Longhorns have shown vast improvement from the team that took the field in 2016.
Texas is coming off consecutive victories over the Cyclones and the Wildcats. Last week, head coach Tom Herman’s Longhorns found a way to beat Kansas State in double-overtime 40-34 and now sit at 3-2 on the year. This game will be the first of three games against the best that the conference has to offer. Next week, the Longhorns get Mason Rudolph and his Oklahoma State Cowboys. Two weeks after that, they travel to Fort Worth to play inner-state rivals TCU.
The Sooners have won six of the last ten games against the Texas but the two schools have trade victories in the last four matches. Last year, the Oklahoma Sooners beat the Longhorns in a thrilling 45-40 victory.
(12) Oklahoma Sooners (4-1)
The injury bug jumped right up and bit the Sooners in the butt last week against the Cyclones. Receiver CeeDee Lamb, running back Abdul Adams, safety Steven Parker, and linebacker Emmanuel Beal all missed key stretches of the game due to physical problems. As of now, Adams and Lamb are listed as questionable for Oklahoma.
Even with the loss of some offensive firepower the Sooners still sport one of the country’s best offenses. In fact, they are ranked 2nd in the nation in total yards (587 ypg), and 6th in Division I ball, scoring 44 points a game. Quarterback and Heisman hopeful Baker Mayfield spearheads this ridiculous offense. This year, the talented signal-caller has tossed the ball for 1,635 yards on 100 completions with a 74.6 completion percentage. More importantly, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns and zero interceptions.
With Abdul Adams banged up a bit, running back Trey Sermon will need to shoulder more of the load. Trey Sermon has done well so far, toting the rock 61 times for 373 yards and three scores. Adams also has 35 carries for 372 yards and a trip to the end zone. Furthermore, the speedy runner tallies 10 yards everytime he touches the ball.
Like the running game, the passing attack took a hit last week with wideout CeeDee Lamb going out with an injury. Lamb has caught 17 balls for 307 yards and a team-high four trips to pay-dirt. Nevertheless, the Sooners have plenty of capable receivers to make up for the injury. Teammate Mark Andrews leads the squad with 19 catches and 355 yards. Plus, three other pass catchers have well over 200 yards on the year and all have touchdowns to their credit.
Defensively, the Sooners have been a complete mess over the last two games. They have given up 80 points to Baylor and Iowa State combined and in the process, they have surrendered just under 1,000 yards of offense. The secondary has been the main culprit for the downfall, allowing both squads to move the ball at will through the air. As a result, Oklahoma sits 80th in the country against the pass, giving up 232 yards a game.
Texas Longhorns (3-2)
The Longhorns 3-2 record probably doesn’t excite too many Texas fans that have been starved for their program to get back to the elite level. Especially, after the 51-41 loss to the Maryland Terrapins on opening day at home. Fortunately, they have turned things around since that debacle and have gone 3-1 with victories over conference foes Kansas State and Iowa State. Also, they only other loss was to USC in the Coliseum in overtime.
During their last four games, Texas has been winning despite having to replace their starting quarterback for long stretches. Shane Buechele won the starting job in the summer and has done fairly well when he has suited up to play. In two games, he has thrown for 546 yards with three touchdowns and two picks. He didn’t see the field last week and is again questionable for this match-up.
In his absence, freshman Sam Ehlinger has performed admirably. He leads the Longhorns’ offense with 900 yards passing, including a 380-yard performance last week against the Wildcats. Ehlinger has also thrown for five scores and three interceptions on the year.
Although the running game hasn’t been as strong as last season, the Longhorns are still putting up 175 yards a game against their enemies (60th). Running back Chris Warren III and Kyle Porter have combined for 102 carries for almost 425 yards and seven scores. Warren has recorded four of those with Porter close behind with three.
Three receivers have surfaced as Texas’ go-to guys through the first five games of the year. Together, they have snatched up 67 balls for just over 900 yards and four touchdowns. Collin Johnson leads the crew with 25 catches for 485 yards. Armanti Foreman only has 17 grabs but three of them have gone to the back of the end zone.
The Longhorns’ defense has vastly improved from what they put on display for college football fans last season. Now, Texas is allowing only 23.8 points and 354.2 yards per game. They are especially stout against the run, ranking 18th in the nation allowing 105 yards a contest. Cornerback DeShon Elliott is proving he is one of the best ball-hawks in the FBS with five interceptions in five total games.
I think it’s pretty obvious that Las Vegas is assuming that the Sooners have woke up since their first loss of the year at home last week. They instantly placed them as a seven-point favorite on Monday. Obviously, the betting public feels the same way because that seven-point spread has inflated to eight as of this write-up.
Either way, It’s hard for me to believe that the Sooners defense has figured things out in just one week. The over/under is set at 65, so that tells you what oddsmakers think about that synopsis. Also, Texas is proving to be a gritty team this year. No matter who plays under-center, they still seem to move the ball well and their defense has surely performed better than the Sooners.
For these reasons, I’m suggesting that my readers take the underdog in this heated rivalry. I like the fact that no matter what the team’s record is, these two schools leave it all out on the field against one another. As for the contest’s total, I really think that this could go either way. Here’s why. The Sooners’ defense will probably be out to play some inspired football after last week’s let down. Also, the Longhorns have been playing consistently good defense all season long. The flip side of that coin is that Baker Mayfield is one of the top three quarterbacks in the country and puts up 40 points no matter who he faces. So, that’s enough for me to walk away from this total 65. #moneytreesgrow @EriktheHun
The Sooners are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
The Sooners are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
The Over is 4-1 in the Sooners last 5 games overall.
The Longhorns are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
The Longhorns are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
The Under is 26-10 in the Longhorns last 36 conference games.
The Underdog is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
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