On Friday, I decided to venture out of Austin and into Dripping Springs, where 2023 three-star quarterback Austin Novosad leads an undefeated Tigers team. On game day, Novosad was tasked with extending his team's season record to 7-0, something that the Tigers could achieve for the third time in the past 25 years.
Entering Friday's game, the Tigers had a 3-0 district record and were looking to inch one win closer to a potential district title. Standing in their way was the San Antonio Veterans Memorial Patriots, a team that was coming off of a 45-28 loss to an undefeated Buda Johnson squad.
Although Veterans Memorial made some big plays, the game was all about the Tigers. On offense, Novosad and senior running back Preston Alford provided the firepower that Dripping Springs needed to distance themselves early. In fact, Alford was able to score a total of five touchdowns and proved to be a reliable back inside of the red zone. Setting up Alford with beneficial opportunities was Novosad, who showed off his arm strength on a number of occasions. While the junior quarterback threw for both a touchdown pass and an interception, he continued to move the chains all night.
According to 247Sports, Alford has received five collegiate offers from programs such as Arkansas State and Navy. However, I would not be surprised to see Alford's recruitment generate more of a buzz if Dripping Springs can run the table in the state's Class 5A Division I playoff bracket.
Along with Alford, Novosad has also received a decent number of scholarship offers, ten to be exact. Currently, programs such as Baylor, SMU and Texas Tech have been vying for the junior quarterback's services. Despite not necessarily being on his A game versus Veterans Memorial, Novosad has been terrific through seven games - passing for 2,135 passing yards and 29 TDs.
On defense for the Tigers, senior outside linebacker Parker Cooke was making plays left and right, even showing off his vertical on an impressive interception. The 6'2" athlete was certainly the player that caught my eye the most on the defensive side of the ball for either teams.
Although Dripping Springs was ultimately able to win this contest 47-21, both Patriots senior quarterback Alex Alva and sophomore running back James Peoples were able to gash the Tigers for big gains on the ground.
Following Friday night's loss, Veterans Memorial now drops to fifth place in their division with a 1-3 record against district foes.
I think that Dripping Springs, especially with a quarterback like Austin Novosad, might be a sneaky team to watch in the state's 5AD2 classification. With Novosad and Alford leading the way, the Tigers offense should have no problem scoring points in the playoffs. In fact, Dripping Springs has scored over 44 points in each of their games this season.
Also, I am looking forward to seeing how the recruitment of Novosad, Alford, and Cooke progresses. For Cooke, I am not aware of any scholarship offers that he may have, but I think that he could be a player for some college programs to further investigate.
57 Miles (Total)
Another week, another heartbreaking loss for Texas
Let's start big picture. Steve Sarkisian said something after the game that had not crossed my mind previously. He mentioned Texas has a mental block when it comes to making the plays necessarily to put a team away in the second half, and it is his responsibility to help them get over that block . When the Longhorns jump out to an early lead or are off to a good start, it is like the players are almost waiting for something bad to happen. This program has played in so many nail-biters over the last 3-4 years that it almost seems like an expectation to a lot of players. Let me be clear, this is not an excuse for Texas losing games and there are many more issues that need to be addressed but it is just something additional to think about when looking back on the the last two weeks.
In terms of the on-field performance, let's start with the defense. Pete Kwiatkowski came out with a pretty good game plan and Texas played winning football on defense for about 3 and a half quarters. The dam eventually broke the last few possessions after they had been on the field nearly the entire second half, but the overall performance should have been good enough for a win.
Kwiatkowski opted to operate out of 3-man front for the majority of the game with Alfred Collins anchoring one of the edge spots. This turned out to be a smart decision. The stats show Texas allowed 220 yards rushing, but about 90 of those yards came on the final two possessions (excluding the possession that ended in a kneel down) when Texas was completely out of gas including the drive when the Longhorns effectively let OSU score because they had to get the ball back.
DeMarvion Overshown exited early in the contest with a concussion, and Jaylan Ford saw extended action in Overshown's place and played well. Ford ended up leading Texas in tackles with 12.
Offensively, Texas started out by marching right down the field on their opening drive and it slowly went downhill from there. Casey Thompson had by far his worst performance of the year (15/27 179 yards 1 touchdown and 2 INT's). His first INT was a pick-6 as Texas was driving deep into OSU territory to potentially make it a 20-3 or 24-3 game. Instead, OSU got to go into the locker room only down 17-13.
The second half performance from the offense was awful. Texas scored on their first drive and then did not record another first down. 6 straight drives that ended in 4 plays or less. That's hard to believe.
We will likely never know how much Thompson's thumb injury was bothering him, but if I was Steve Sarkisian I would have made a quarterback change at some point in the 4th quarter. The Longhorns offense needed some sort of spark and Oklahoma State was pinning their ears back knowing Thompson couldn't push the ball down the field.
Kyle Flood opted to play musical chairs with the offensive line for much of the afternoon. Tope Imade started at LG but ended up splitting a lot of time with Hayden Conner. Christian Jones started at LT but ended up sharing a lot of snaps with Andrej Karic. I would expect those battles to continue throughout the bye week and into the Baylor game.
As a whole, the offensive line spent much of the second half on roller skates for the second straight week. Oklahoma State was more physical up front and it showed. Texas needs to be in the market for at least a tackle and a guard in the portal once the offseason hits. They simply can not afford to waste Bijan Robinson's final year on campus with a below average offensive line.
Overall, it was another disappointing performance and now Texas is going to have to sit on it for two weeks with the bye week upcoming. This team has a lot of holes and the coaching staff has to find a way to scheme around their deficiencies better. They are doing it in the first half regularly, but the flood gates have now opened in the second half in back to back weeks.
AUSTIN, TX -- Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-0, 3-0) snapped a two-game losing streak to the Texas Longhorns (4-3, 2-2), defeating Steve Sarkisian's team 32-24 at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
Texas led in the game until late in the fourth quarter when Tanner Brown kicked a 25-yard field goal with 4:37 remaining to give Oklahoma State a 25-24 lead, their first of the game. The Cowboys scored again after stuffing Casey Thompson on 4th and 3, securing the win and maintaining a perfect record on the season.
Texas quarterback Casey Thompson played with his thumb wrapped, after injuring it last week in Dallas against the Sooners. Thompson threw for 179 yards and one touchdown pass, and had two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. He was forced out of the game for one play late in the third quarter after being hit by Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez.
Bijan Robinson eclipsed the century mark on the ground for the fifth straight game, finishing with 135 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Marcus Washington who started at wideout in place of the injured Jordan Whittington, led all Texas receivers with 60 yards on two receptions.
Oklahoma State rushed for 220 yards and quarterback Spencer Sanders threw for 178 yards and a touchdown. Utah State transfer Jaylen Warren led all rushers with 193 yards on 33 carries including a long of 29 yards.
Linebacker Demarvion Overshown was injured in the first half of the game and did not return.
Texas falls to 4-3 overall and has lost two in a row.
The Longhorns have a much-needed bye week next week before traveling to Waco to face the Baylor Bears on Halloween Eve.
The Longhorns scored on the game's opening possession, marching 75 yards downfield and ending with Bijan Robinson's 1-yard rushing touchdown.
After punting on their first drive, Oklahoma State threatened in the red zone, but ended up settling for a 21-yard field goal by Tanner Brown.
The Longhorns responded with a field goal of their own, courtesy of Cameron Dicker, from 28 yards out to give Texas a 10-3 advantage.
Following another punt by the Cowboys, Bijan Robinson's 26 yard run set up another scoring drive for the Longhorns. Robinson rushed for another 9 yards before Roschon Johnson entered for a short-yardage play in which he picked up a first down. Robinson came back in on the next play and caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Casey Thompson, extending the Texas lead to 17-3 over Oklahoma State.
D'Shawn Jamison picked off Cowboy quarterback Spencer Sanders, giving Texas the ball in Cowboy territory. On the ensuing drive, Jason Taylor II picked off Casey Thompson and returned it 85 yards for Oklahoma State's first touchdown of the game.
The Cowboys added another Tanner Brown field goal just before the halftime clock expired, sending Texas into the locker room with a 17-13 lead.
Oklahoma State's offense went three and out to start the second half, and Texas made quick work on their next possession.
An 18-yard reception by Xavier Worthy and a 12-yard rush by Casey Thompson set up Bijan Robinson's second rushing touchdown of the day, this time from 38 yards out. Texas led Oklahoma State 24-13 at that point.
After three and outs by both teams, Spencer Sanders was roughed by Texas linebacker Ray Thornton, extending a Cowboy drive that would have been over. Oklahoma State then drove deep into Texas territory but left with just three points on Tanner Brown's third field goal of the day. The Cowboys trimmed the Texas lead to 24-16.
Towards the end of the third quarter, Casey Thompson took a nasty hit by Oklahoma State linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, forcing Thompson to the sideline. Hudson Card replaced Thompson at quarterback for one snap before Thompson returned.
Oklahoma State's first drive in the fourth quarter included a Jaylen Warren 27-yard run which set up Spencer Sanders' first touchdown pass of the day, to Pressley Brennan for 7 yards. The Cowboys went for two to try and even the score, but failed to convert and left Texas holding a 24-22 lead.
The Texas offense continued to be stagnant, punting for the fourth straight time. Oklahoma State marched the field again but was forced to settle for another Tanner Brown field goal, this time from 25 yards out. Brown's kick gave the Cowboys their first lead of the game, 25-24, with 4:37 remaining on the game clock.
The Longhorns were faced with a 4th & 3 on the ensuing drive and Casey Thompson was stuffed short of the first-down marker, giving Oklahoma State the ball back.
Spencer Sanders capped a 3-play, 42-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to give the Cowboys a 32-24 lead, which they would hold onto as the game ended.
The undefeated Oklahoma State Cowboys are coming off a bye week rested as the head to Austin for Saturday's matchup against the Longhorns. Texas is recovering from a battle they narrowly lost to rival Oklahoma last week in Dallas, and they stakes couldn't be higher for both teams.
This is the 4th consecutive 11:00 AM start for the Longhorns, with Texas holding a 2-1 record in the previous three outings. A win by the Longhorns would be Steve Sarkisian's first against Mike Gundy, giving the Longhorns a 5-2 start. Texas hasn't won five of their first seven games since the 1998 season under Mack Brown.
Texas owns a two-game win streak over OSU, including a 41-34 OT win in Stillwater last season.
The game is of large proportions for the Longhorns, who would keep their Big 12 Championship aspirations alive with a win.
What: #25 Texas Longhorns (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) vs #12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Venue: Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium
Location: Austin, Texas
When: Saturday, October 16th, 2021
Time: 11:00 a.m. (CST)
On the Call: Gus Johnston, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 26-9
Last Meeting: Texas defeated Oklahoma State 41-34 OT (10/31/2020 Stillwater, OK)
Depth Chart: Texas vs Oklahoma State
Ten Things to Know Prior to the Texas and Oklahoma State game
Scouting Report: Oklahoma State Cowboys
Staff Predictions: Texas vs. Oklahoma State
Four Keys to Saturday's Showdown with the Cowboys
Longhorns set to host Arch Manning, numerous blue-chip recruits during Oklahoma State game
Discuss the Texas vs. Oklahoma State Game Here
Mike Gundy's Oklahoma State Cowboys bring a 5-0 record into Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday in hopes of upsetting the Texas Longhorns (4-2, 2-1) who are favored by four points in this contest. The Longhorns will have to contain mobile quarterback Spencer Sanders, and stop a run-heavy OSU offense if they want to win and keep the goal of a conference championship alive. Texas will play without starting defensive end Jacoby Jones and starting wide receiver Jordan Whittington, both of whom suffered injuries that require surgery in last week's game against Oklahoma.
Does Texas have what it takes to beat the Cowboys for a third-straight year?
Our staff shares their thoughts on what they think will be the outcome of Saturday's game.
Jameson McCausland (5-1)
This is not an ideal spot for Texas to be in coming off the devastating loss to Oklahoma and welcoming Oklahoma State, who is coming off a bye week. Mike Gundy always has his team ready to play and I don't expect this year to be any different.
Oklahoma State presents several difficult matchups, namely the Cowboys ability to run the ball against a Texas defense that just got shredded on the ground. They also have one of the best defenses in the Big 12. I worry about the Texas offensive line being able to open up consistent holes in the running game.
If Texas is able to build on the success they had in the passing game last week and generate a few Spencer Sanders turnovers, it should be enough for a victory. I could see this game going either way, but I will take Texas in a close one.
Score Prediction: Texas 28, Oklahoma State 27
Devon Messinger (4-2)
For the fourth Saturday in a row, the Longhorns will have the pleasure of a 11 A.M. kickoff. This weekend, the Longhorns will square off against #12 Oklahoma State, a team that is coming off of a bye week. As a result, be on the lookout for how conditioning will impact Texas's performance as the defensive side of the ball looked absolutely gassed in the Red River game.
However, ultimately, the key X-factor for Texas will be their defensive line, a unit that mightily struggled in the second half against Oklahoma. Additionally, with Jacoby Jones out with an injury, the Longhorns will need someone to step up. So far this season, redshirt senior running back Jaylen Warren has been heart & soul of the Cowboys offense. If Texas can stop him, and force redshirt junior quarterback Spencer Sanders to make key plays with his arm, the Longhorns will be in a good position to win the game.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, Oklahoma State 27
After a gut-wrenching loss at the Cotton Bowl last week, the Horns are in a spot where any adversity could be completely deflating, but I don’t see that with this squad. They seem to understand they let a massive opportunity slip through their fingers against OU, but it’s not something that derails their goals for the season although the margin of error is slim going forward. OK State comes to town with a statistically great defense but they’ve yet to see anything like the trio of Thompson, Robinson and Worthy. Their scoring offense is the worst it’s been since Mike Gundy took over 15+ years ago, so could that be exactly what the doctor ordered for a Texas defense that’s on its heels? I don’t expect anything other than the absolute madness we’ve seen in the past when these two teams get together, but I like Texas to come out on top whether it’s pretty or ugly and record that statement victory that got away in Dallas.
Score Prediction: Texas 40, Oklahoma State 28
Aaron Carrara (4-2)
Oklahoma State has won the battle with Texas over the last decade, but the Longhorns have won two straight against OSU and look to make it three. Mike Gundy's defense is playing really well, but the Texas offense continues to put up big numbers against teams that boast good defenses. Oklahoma State ranks 18th nationally in total defense and gives up a little over 18 points a game, but I like Casey Thompson and the Longhorns to put up big numbers on offense once again. Texas DC Pete Kwiatkowski will have his front 7 dialed in to stop Spencer Sanders and the run and Texas wins this game in a close one.
Score Prediction: Texas 42, Oklahoma State 38
Tristan Larsen (5-1)
From one undefeated Oklahoma team to the next... Texas may have played one of their best games of the year but unfortunately the Sooners prevailed in the end. Despite the 4-2 start, this team, particularly on the offensive side under Sarkisian, has done a lot of great things. They’ll need to continue that when they take 12th ranked Oklahoma State. The Cowboy defense has been great this year, holding opponents to just 18.6 points per game. How real is that defense? We will find out this week as they’ve yet to face a team like Texas and a player like Bijan Robinson. This week it’s strength vs strength in that aspect. When it comes to the Cowboys offense vs the Longhorns defense it’ll be weakness vs weakness as each unit has failed to breakout thus far in the year. At the end of the day I trust the Longhorns defense more than the Cowboys offense right now. Despite the perfect record I think Texas is the better team and will show that this weekend.
Score Prediction: Texas 31, Oklahoma State 24
Mitch Lovell (5-1)
Although the loss to Oklahoma last week was disappointing, it was the best Steve Sarkisian's offense has looked in Austin. OSU QB Spencer Sanders has been average at best and I think he gives up the ball a couple times leading to a Texas win.
Score Prediction: Texas 38, Oklahoma State 28
When #25 Texas and #12 Oklahoma State kickoff at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the Longhorns will look to win their third straight game against the Cowboys. The Pokes are undefeated and the Longhorns are fighting to keep their conference championship appearance alive with a win.
Here are four things to watch for that could very well decide the outcome of Texas vs. OSU.
1. How will the Longhorns replace Jordan Whittington?
Last Saturday vs. Oklahoma in the 4th quarter Whittington broke his collarbone and is out indefinitely. This is a much bigger loss than many Will think from a far. This offense lacks playmakers beyond Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy and Whittington was by all accounts the third best playmaker. He was also Casey Thompson’s security blanket on third down. With the challenges the offensive line has encountered, Texas finds themselves in a lot of third and longs.... Losing a guy who you can count on during those situations hurts significantly. Joshua Moore did have his best game in the Cotton Bowl and I expect his targets to increase with Whittington out.
2. Can Texas finally stop the run?
Against Power-5 football teams this year the Longhorns have given up over 5 yards a carry. Those woes appeared at an awful time again vs Oklahoma last week in Dallas. You can bet every team moving forward will test their run defense. This Oklahoma State team thrives by running the ball and playing defense. Gundy himself this week stated he wanted no part of a shootout with Texas. If Texas can’t get better against the run, it’s going to be difficult to win this Saturday and beyond. Alfred Collins being inserted into the starting lineup for an injured Jacoby Jones is a potential upgrade. The last few weeks Collins has been playing much better and recorded a sack vs Oklahoma and nearly getting the sack multiple other times.
3. Will Texas continue to win the turnover battle?
Since the loss to Arkansas in Fayetteville, the Longhorns have been great at forcing turnovers and limiting their own turnovers. That’s key in any football game but especially in games where the teams are evenly matched like they will be on Saturday. Texas is struggling on defense and limiting opposing teams from scoring and that makes turnovers even more pivotal. The Texas secondary gives up several big plays every game and they need to make better plays on the ball. Instead of watching wide receivers attack the ball they need to be ballhawks themselves. That happened often in the Cotton Bowl during Oklahoma’s comeback.
4. Who will win the special teams battle?
Oklahoma State has struggled in the kicking game this year and benched their scholarship kicker for a walk-on because of his inconsistency. Oklahoma State and Texas typically play very close games and a kick could very well decide the outcome on Saturday. Since struggling at the start of the season Texas kicker Cameron Dicker has been much more consistent. He’s been a great punter and kickoff specialist as well and those small things matter in games more than most may think. Texas has blocked two punts this year including one against Oklahoma last week. Jeff Banks has his unit ready to go and I would be on the lookout for another blocked punt Saturday.
The Texas Longhorns (4-2, 2-1) will face their third ranked opponent in six games on Saturday when the No. 12 Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-0, 2-0) take the field at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium. The Longhorns are 1-1 in previous contests, defeating Louisiana in the opener and falling to Oklahoma last week at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Despite the Cowboys bringing a perfect record into the matchup, the Longhorns are favored over the Pokes by four points.
The outcome of this game is important to both programs, but for the Longhorns it is a must-win in order to keep the preseason goal of playing in a conference championship alive. Oklahoma State is undefeated in conference play, but a loss to Texas could derail Mike Gundy's hopes of playing in the Big 12 title game in December.
With the stakes being high, here are ten facts that will help get you ready for Texas vs. OSU.
Texas and Oklahoma State will play for the 36th time in history and the 22nd time in Austin.
The Longhorns are 26-9 all-time against the Pokes and 15-6 when playing at Darrell K. Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium.
The Cowboys have won 7 of the last 11 games between the two programs since 2010.
Texas has a two-game winning streak against OSU for the first time since 2008-2009.
Last season's 41-34 win in Stillwater came in OT in Stillwater, courtesy of Joshua Moore's TD reception from Sam Ehlinger.
Saturday's game will be the fourth straight 11:00 AM kickoff for Texas, with the Longhorns holding a 2-1 record in previous 11:00 AM kickoff games.
Texas has scored 32 points in five of the last six games this season.
Junior QB Casey Thompson leads the Big 12 in passing efficiency (187.4), passing touchdowns (14), passing yards per completion (14.8), points per game (17) and yards per pass attempt (9.95).
The Longhorns lead the Big 12 in scoring offense and rank 5th nationally in scoring offense with 44.5 points per game.
True freshman Xavier Worthy amassed 261 receiving yards against Oklahoma which was the most ever by a player against the Sooners. Worthy's season total now sits at 514 receiving yards which is good enough for the fourth-most by a freshman in school history.
On Saturday, the Longhorns will host the Oklahoma State Cowboys in one of the nation's few top twenty-five ranked matchups. However, besides the highly anticipated conference matchup, all eyes will be focused on what's happening in the the stands this weekend.
In today's article, I discuss some of the visitors that are expected to attend this weekend's game versus Oklahoma State. Also, I will list all of Texas's most recent offers since my last update.
To begin, we start with a familiar name, that being 2023 five-star quarterback Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton & Eli and grandson of Archie. Despite receiving plenty of attention because of the family name, Arch can also sling the rock. Currently, the 247Sports Composite has listed Arch as the nation's top-prospect in the 2023 recruiting class.
It appears that head coach Steve Sarkisian and quarterbacks coach AJ Milwee have made a great impression on Arch, as well as his high school coach Nelson Stewart. Furthermore, Saturday's visit to Austin will provide Manning with the Texas game day experience and will allow him to connect with several other Texas targets.
While the Longhorns coaching staff has gotten off to a promising start with Manning, they will be competing with schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ole Miss. In fact, Arch has already been able to visit Alabama and Georgia this fall.
In 2021, the Longhorns were able to add three-star quarterback Charles Wright and, in 2022, Texas is expected to add four-star quarterback Maalik Murphy.
On Thursday, 2022 four-star safety Mikal Harrison-Pilot announced that he will also be in attendance for Saturday's game. The native of Temple, TX was able to visit the Forty Acres in June and could potentially join the 2022 recruiting class's secondary of Bryan Allen Jr., Austin Jordan and Ronald Lewis.
Similar to Harrison-Pilot, 2022 five-star safety Jacoby Matthews also plans to visit the Longhorns this weekend. Matthews is currently the 27th-ranked player in the nation's 2022 recruiting class per the 247Sports Composite. Matthews is a Louisiana native and, like many blue-chip Louisiana natives, is being heavily recruited by LSU. Nonetheless, it should be considered a big win for the Longhorns to get Matthews on campus for Saturday's experience.
Joining the party, 2022 four-star athlete Larry Turner-Gooden announced via Twitter that he will be traveling to Austin for the game. Luckily for Texas, Turner-Gooden is friends with current Texas pledge Maalik Murphy, who may help to sway the former Arizona State commit to Texas.
This is by no means a comprehensive list of this weekend's visitors, however it should serve as an indicator of how much talent will be in the stands on Saturday.
Jaydon Chatman - Three-star Offensive Lineman - Harker Heights
Caleb Downs - Four-star Safety- Mill Creek
Ryan Niblett - Athlete - Aldine Eisenhower
Leviticus Su'a - Four-star Linebacker - Mater Dei
Derrick McFall - Running Back - Tyler High
Dylan Raiola - Four-star Quarterback - Burleson
Colin Simmons - Four-star Linebacker - Duncanville
Zina Umeozulu - Four-star EDGE - Allen
Texas will not have a lot of time to lick their wounds from last Saturday as they prepare to welcome a talented Oklahoma State team to Austin. Mike Gundy's squad is coming off a bye week and currently sits at 5-0 on the season. The winner of Saturday's matchup will be in strong position for a spot in the Big 12 title game in December. Let's take a look at what to expect from a talented Oklahoma State team:
Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace have moved on to the NFL, but talent remains on the Oklahoma State offense. Spencer Sanders is in his 3rd year as the starter at quarterback and still posses one of the best arms in the Big 12. Sanders has thrown for 781 yards in 4 games (he missed the season opener) and 5 touchdowns. One of the biggest question marks for Sanders since he's become the starting QB has been his decision making, and that question has lingered into this year. He is only completing 58% of his passes on the season and has the tendency to turn the ball over in critical moments. He tossed 3 interceptions against Baylor two weeks ago and has struggled at times when he's forced off his primary read.
At running back, Utah State transfer Jaylen Warren has been a godsend for a position room that has been hampered by injuries. LD Brown figured to carry a heavy load for the Cowboys offense this year, but he was injured early in the year and Warren has taken over. In the past 3 games, Warren has averaged 32 carries and has collected 4 touchdowns. Mike Gundy made a comment earlier this week that he did not want to get into a shootout with Texas, so expect Warren to be featured on Saturday.
Tay Martin has taken over the number 1 WR role left behind by Wallace. Martin has 21 receptions on the season for 317 yards and a pair of TD's. Martin stands at 6'3 and posses the ability to win one on one battles. Brennan Presley is the only other receiver with double digit receptions on the season with 12.
The Oklahoma State offensive line has had up and down performances throughout the season. Guard Josh Sills has been the most steady performer but the rest of the unit has been inconsistent. Both starting tackles are redshirt sophomores and can be shaky in pass protection at times.
Oklahoma State might have the best defense in the Big 12. The Cowboys have a ton of multi-year starters who can make plays. It all starts with middle linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, who has 54 tackles on the season and is all over the field. He does an excellent job of finding the ball and is very tough to block at the second level. Fellow linebacker Devin Harper is active as well and has notched 29 tackles.
On the backend, Kolby Harvell-Peel is one of the best safeties in the league and is joined by fellow senior Tanner McCalister. Corners Christian Holmes and Jarrick Bernard-Converse are experienced players who are fairly sound in the passing game. This is going to be a much better secondary than the Longhorns faced in the Cotton Bowl a week ago, but the Longhorns might be able to find more success on the ground than they did against the Sooners.
Along the defensive line, Oklahoma State really misses defensive end Trace Ford, who tore his ACL in early September. In his place, defensive coordinator has utilized freshman Collin Oliver. The Cowboys are averaging over 3 sacks a game, which puts him in the top 20 in the country, but much of the production came against Missouri State and Tulsa (7 sacks combined).
This is going to be a much better secondary than the Longhorns faced in the Cotton Bowl a week ago, but the Longhorns should be able to find more success on the ground than they did against the Sooners.
Oklahoma State is going to make Texas prove they can stop the run. The Longhorns have given up at least 300 yards rushing twice already this season and the Cowboys have shown a commitment to running the ball. Mike Gundy would have no issues with Spencer Sanders only throwing 20 passes and leaving Austin with a victory.
For Texas offensively, they will have to protect much better than they did in the second half against Oklahoma State. It appears Kyle Flood and Steve Sarkisian and making several tweaks along the offensive line. If Texas continues to struggle up front, Oklahoma State has the athletes to give the Longhorns offense a lot of trouble.
Texas QB Casey Thompson did what many didn't think he was capable of - torching a defense with the deep ball and leading the offense to monumental production. Everyone knew he could be a game manager with Bijan Robinson leading the way, but he took over as the #1 option offensively against the Sooners. This was Thompson's biggest test yet and he responded in a big way, finishing with 5 touchdowns and 388 yards passing. That’s about as good as it gets for a quarterback in any game, let alone in a Texas-Oklahoma rivalry game. The offense sputtered in the second half, but there you cannot blame the loss on the offense. If 48 points isn’t enough to win a football game, then there are larger issues at-hand. Texas blew a three touchdown lead, but there is no question that they have found their answer at quarterback.
The lack of pass rush continues to be something that stands out each week. After Lincoln Riley benched Spencer Rattler, the Longhorns had a chance to bury Oklahoma when freshman Caleb Williams entered the game. The Texas pass rush couldn’t find consistency and Williams made them pay. I wish there was a better answer for how to improve the pass rush, but I noticed that Alfred Collins seems to be more disruptive than his counterparts. I’m not sure why he isn’t starting on the defensive line, but he needs to be on the field more so than not
The ugly is pretty simple for me this week - it’s the rushing defense or lack thereof. Even when Texas had complete control of the game the rushing defense was an issue. Overall Oklahoma ran for over 300 yards and over 8 yards per carry. That’s simply inexcusable and it’s following a bad pattern of Texas struggling against the run. We saw this in Fayetteville earlier in the season and it may have been even worse in Dallas given the circumstances. If Texas doesn’t learn how to stop the run and control their gaps, it will take 40+ points to win just about every game the rest of the way. Oklahoma State has been a very good rushing team and Texas will be tested again this Saturday at home. It was a very disappointing loss for Texas, but the big picture is that Steve Sarkisian looks to have the offensive side of things figured out.
This weekend, like the Longhorns, I also travelled to Dallas for a big football game. On Friday, I covered a top-five ranked matchup in No. 4 Longview versus No. 3 Highland Park. Headlining a talented Longview Lobos team, I was excited to see 2023 five-star wide receiver Jalen Hale in action against a talented Scots secondary.
Entering Friday's game, both Highland Park and Longview had one loss apiece, losing to top-five ranked teams in Southlake Carroll and Denton Ryan respectively. However, both teams have legitimate hopes of winning a state title at the Class 5A Division I level.
While I was excited to watch some offensive focused football, it turns out that I was in store for a defensive slugfest. Early on, it was apparent that the Scots would not let Jalen Hale beat them down the field. To achieve this, the Scots defense made sure to assign multiple defenders to shadow Hale on the outside. However, despite the heavy attention, Hale was still able to finish the game with a couple of catches, albeit they were limited to short gains thanks to a swarming defense.
For Highland Park, I was looking forward to watching 2023 quarterback Brennan Storer sling the rock. Other than a third quarter pick-six off of a throw in the flats, Storer was in control of the game and hit his mark when he needed to, passing for two touchdown passes. According to 247Sports, Storer has received four collegiate offers from schools such as Kansas and Texas State.
Defensively, led by 2022 three-star EDGE Jack Curtis, the Highland Park defense did a fantastic job of quelling any signs of life from the Lobos. Furthermore, Curtis forced a Longview fumble which was recovered and taken to the house to give the Scots a 14-3 third quarter lead. Curtis, who stands in at 6'3", has received 12 offers from schools such as Arizona and Hawaii.
However, despite a solid effort from the entire Scots team, the real killer for Longview was penalties. Seemingly, it appeared that the Lobos were penalized on every drive for extracurricular activity. These penalties extended several drives for the Scots offensively, and allowed them to milk the clock and win the battle of field position.
Eventually, Highland Park was able to win a key district game over Longview, 21-16.
This weekend was the first time that I was able to cover one of Hale's games. Personally, I am impressed by Hale's mixture of size and speed, as he stands in at a respectable 6'2" and ran a 22.68 200-meter dash earlier in the year. Currently, the sole 247Sports Crystal Ball that has been placed for Hale is in favor of the Oklahoma Sooners. However, the Longhorns invited the junior wideout to Saturday's Red River Showdown, which he was able to attend.
I still believe that Hale's recruitment is open and it will be very entertaining to see where he will end up at the college level. Hopefully, I will get to see Hale and the Lobos once again later in the season.
Speaking of Jack Curtis, the senior edge rusher was able to visit Texas's game against Rice several weeks ago. I always mention a prospect who could see his recruiting stock rise and Curtis is one of them. Against Longview, Curtis was causing havoc all night and certainly contributed to Highland Park's big win.
Lastly, I will also be interested to see how Highland Park's quarterback, Brennan Storer, will perform for the Scots in the playoffs. The Scots have a rich history of quarterback play when it matters most, and Storer will be tasked with defeating some of the juggernauts that will loom in the 5AD1 classification.
478 miles (Total)
It was a wild day at the Cotton Bowl. Let's jump right into some quick thoughts and takeaways:
Texas was the better team for about 3 quarters, but the Longhorns faltered in the 4th quarter and that was the difference in the game. There is a lot of finger pointing that can go around, but the bottom line is Texas allowed 662 yards total yards, including 339 yards via the ground. You are not winning many football games giving up those numbers. The Longhorn defense collapsed in the second half and could not contain Kennedy Brooks, who ran for 217 yards.
Pete Kwiatkowski and the Texas defensive coaching staff appeared to have a solid gameplan in place for Spencer Rattler and the Oklahoma offense, but once Lincoln Riley chose to make a quarterback switch it was all downhill for Texas. Caleb Williams brought a different dimension to the offense with his legs and the Longhorns were never able to adjust.
All around, it was not a good performance for Texas defensively. The blame can go to the players or the play caller, but the bottom line is it was ugly. The number of missed tackles had to have been close to 20. The defensive line seemed poised for a big day early, but after Williams entered the game they were a complete non-factor.
Switching to offense, Texas did enough to win the game. Yes, the Longhorns went through a scoring drought in the second half, but if you would have told me before the game that Casey Thompson would throw for close to 400 yards and 5 touchdowns, I would have said Texas won the game by double digits. Steve Sarkisian had some excellent play calls early in the first half to get the Texas offense going, and credit to Casey Thompson for connecting on several deep shots.
The Longhorns' offensive line spent much of the second half on roller skates. Both tackles struggled mightily and the run game disappeared at a point in the game when Texas would have been happy to hand the ball to their Heisman caliber RB.
Speaking of BIjan Robinson, he finished the game with 20 carries for 137 yards. The damage could have been far worse, but Alex Grinch decided in the second half that he was bringing extra men nearly every play. Robinson had what could have been a Heisman moment on a beautiful 50 yards run the second quarter that was nearly a touchdown, but is performance will be a side note considering how the rest of the game unfolded.
Xaiver Worthy bounced back from a rough game in Fort Worth to haul in 9 receptions for 261 yards and 2 TD's. Worthy is a special WR and stepped up in a big way for Texas. Joshua Moore also had a good game with 4 catches for 70 yards and a pair of TD's. Overall, it was a solid day from the Longhorns WR's.
Texas had a huge special teams play early when they blocked an Oklahoma punt, but the lasting special teams play in people's minds will be Worthy running out a kickoff deep in the endzone which resulted in a fumble. Texas was not generating any momentum in the kickoff return game and Worthy has to know to take a knee in that situation if the kick is into the endzone.
This is going to be a tough pill to swallow for Texas. The Longhorns could easily be 3-0 in conference play and be in the driver's seat in the Big 12. Instead, they now have to turn their attention to a huge game against Oklahoma State next Saturday. If Texas is able to pull out a win, they should feel fairly confident heading into a bye week. A loss would be a huge blow to their hopes of making the Big 12 championship game.
On Saturday, things were all sunshine & rainbows for the Longhorns entering halftime with a 38-20 lead. However, this year's Red River Showdown was a tale of two halves for the Longhorns, who surrendered 35 points in the second half. Included in Oklahoma's second half offensive barrage was a game-winning 33-yard rush by redshirt junior running back Kennedy Brooks. This touchdown rush by Brooks gave the Sooners a 55-48 lead with just three seconds left in regulation, and solidified the final score of the rivalry's highest-scoring game ever.
Prior to the start of the third quarter, Texas quarterback Casey Thompson threw for 244 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Bijan Robinson had over 100 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown rush. However, besides Thompson's 31-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Worthy, which tied the game at 48 with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns did not have much to celebrate.
On the other hand, for Oklahoma, freshman quarterback Caleb Williams was tasked with leading the Sooners after preseason Heisman favorite Spencer Rattler was benched following a fumble late in the second quarter. Once he was given the keys to the Sooners offense, Williams looked like a seasoned quarterback under center. In fact, Williams ultimately amassed 211 passing yards and 2 touchdowns, in addition to a big 66-yard touchdown rush. It was apparent that the freshman quarterback provided the Sooners with a spark, delivering blow after blow to a Texas defense that was incapable of responding.
Furthermore, the Longhorns defense struggled to contain Oklahoma's running game as Kennedy Brooks rushed for 217 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Sooners would finish Saturday's game with a total of 339 rushing yards. Meanwhile, despite a hot start on offense, Texas's running game cooled off in the second half, totaling only 27 rushing yards during the final two quarters. Along with the rushing game, Texas's offensive line struggled to keep Casey Thompson upright in the second half as he faced a countless number of quarterback pressures.
Despite the team's second half struggles, freshman receiver Xavier Worthy was able to account for 261 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Worthy, he also had a costly fumble on a kick return which helped give the Sooners the momentum in the fourth quarter. But, when his number was dialed up later in the game, Worthy made some tough catches to keep the team in the game.
The positives for Texas on defense all came in the first half, such as when defensive back B.J. Foster intercepted a Spencer Rattler pass and linebacker Ben Davis forced a Rattler fumble. However, as previously mentioned, the defense lacked any sort of punch following the insertion of Caleb Williams.
Quite simply, the Sooners made the plays that they needed to make in order to keep themselves in the game and, ultimately, pulled off the 21-point comeback victory, now their largest ever come-from-behind victory against the Longhorns. Also worth noting, Oklahoma's 55 points are the most that they have scored in a game since their 76-0 victory over Western Carolina four weeks ago.
Next Saturday, the Longhorns will host Oklahoma State team at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, the kick off time is still to be determined.
Notable Texas Statistics:
Casey Thompson - 344 passing yards & 5 touchdowns
Xavier Worthy - 261 receiving yards & 2 touchdowns
Bijan Robinson - 127 rushing yards & 1 touchdown
Luke Brockermeyer - 12 total tackles
B.J. Foster - 8 total tackles & 1 interception
The Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) and Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0) meet for the 117th time on Saturday, with both teams having their eyes set on a Big 12 Championship and more. Texas is hoping to avoid a fourth-straight loss to Lincoln Riley's program, and head coach Steve Sarkisian looks to become the first head coach at Texas to win five of his first six games since Fred Akers went 6-0 in 1977.
The stakes are always high at Fair Park when these two teams play one another, but Saturday's game is a barometer for understanding where each of these programs truly is after facing early season struggles. To make the stakes even higher, ESPN's College Game Day will be setting up shop in Dallas for the big game.
Texas beat a ranked opponent to start the season, but was demolished by Arkansas in Week 2. Since then Casey Thompson has taken the reins as the starting quarterback and never looked back. Thompson has led the Longhorns back into the Top-25 and three straight wins, including last weekend's 32-27 road win over TCU.
The Sooners maintain a perfect record after winning in Manhattan last week, but have won all of their games except one (Western Carolina, Week 2) by a touchdown or less.
What: #21 Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) vs #6 Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12)
Venue: Cotton Bowl
Location: Dallas, Texas
When: Saturday, October 2nd, 2021
Time: 11:00 a.m. (CST)
On the Call: Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe
All-Time Series: Texas leads, 62-49-5
Last Meeting: Oklahoma defeated Texas 53-45 (10/10/2020 Dallas, TX)
Depth Chart: Texas vs Oklahoma
Game Notes: Sooners & 'Horns
Scouting Report: Oklahoma Sooners
Staff Predictions: Texas vs. Oklahoma
Four Keys to the a Red River Rivalry Win for the Longhorns
The Texas Longhorns have lost three straight to the Oklahoma Sooners and fifteen of the last twenty-two games. To be blunt, the Sooners have owned the Longhorns for the last two decades.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said in his media availability on Thursday that his team had their best practice of the season on Tuesday, and the Longhorns will need to carry that momentum into Saturday's performance at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
While these games, this game in particular, can be challenging for players because of the heated nature of the rivalry, Sarkisian says the team has done a good job in preparation on both the physical and mental side. Sarkisian wants his team to enjoy the rivalry and the breadth of what the game is, but doesn't want them to get carried away with it.
"I think the key for us is to play with emotion but not emotional."
Saturday's game will be the 117th meeting between the Sooners and the Longhorns with the Longhorns holding an all-time advantage of 927-379-33.
Saturday's contest will be the 3rd straight 11:00 am kickoff for the Longhorns. Texas is undefeated in day games this season.
The higher-ranked team in the AP Top 25 has won 18 of the last 29 matchups. Oklahoma is ranked 6th while the Longhorns are ranked at no. 21.
ESPN's College GameDay will set up shop at the Cotton Bowl, the first time they have been to the Texas-OU game since 2018
Texas has won the turnover battle in six of the last seven meetings with OU. The team that wins the turnover battle between Texas and OU is 13-6 since the year 2000. The Longhorns must translate turnovers into points if they want to win in Dallas.
The last eight games between these two teams have been decided by eight points or less.
When asked which three things are keys to Texas winning on Saturday, Sarkisian said; winning at the line of scrimmage, limiting and creating explosive plays, and not turning the ball over/ creating turnovers.
Texas is healthy. Sark reported no injuries sustained at TCU that will prohibit anyone from playing.
The Longhorns have the 5th best rushing offense in the country, led by Heisman Trophy candidate Bijan Robinson. The Longhorns amass an average of 265.8 rushing yards per game.
Oklahoma ranks 7th nationally in rushing defense giving up just 79.4 yards per game.
The Sooners are favored in this game by 3.5 points.
STEVE SARKISIAN TALKS OKLAHOMA
LINCOLN RILEY DISCUSSES TEXAS
The Texas Longhorns (4-1, 2-0) snapped a two game losing streak to TCU last weekend, defeating Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs 32-27 in Fort Worth. Oklahoma (5-0, 2-0) went on the road and beat Kansas State 37-31 to stay undefeated in and out of conference play.
The Sooners have won three straight and seven of the last ten games against the Longhorns.
The 117th matchup between these programs takes place on Saturday at 11:00 am at the Cotton Bowl with the winner taking the Big 12 driver's seat into the second half of the season.
The HornSports Staff weighs with their predictions on the outcome of the game.
Jameson McCausland (4-1)
For a team that is 5-0, Oklahoma has faced a lot of criticism in recent weeks and most of it is justified. The Sooners have struggled to run the ball this year, which normally is the bread and butter of a Lincoln Riley offense. The Oklahoma offensive line has a lot of questions entering Saturday's matchup in both run blocking and pass protection.
For Texas, the big storyline will be Casey Thompson making first career Texas-OU start. Thompson looked very good against Rice and Texas Tech, but struggled last week against TCU and has now thrown an interception in 3 straight games. We know Steve Sarkisian will find a way to get Bijan Robinson his touches, but a big factor in this game will be the ability of Thompson to push the ball down the field to the Texas receivers.
If you would have asked me to pick this game before the season or even after the Arkansas game, I would have taken Oklahoma by double digits. I like what Texas has shown over the last 3 weeks on both sides of the ball, but the Sooners appeared to figure some things out offensively last week and will have the best pass rusher on the field in Nic Bonitto. I think that is the difference in the game.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 28
Devon Messinger (4-1)
Against TCU, the Longhorns won the turnover battle quite handily. On Saturday, the Longhorns will once again need to tap into this magic against Oklahoma.
Everyone knows about the talent of Oklahoma redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler. While Rattler has had a relatively slow start to the year, the Oklahoma offense started to click once again in their game versus K-State. As a result, besides Bijan Robinson needing to have a big game for Texas, the key for the Longhorns will be their ability to pressure Rattler into making poor decisions. Additionally, Longhorns quarterback Casey Thompson will need to keep a clean sheet and keep Oklahoma's defense honest against the passing game.
Texas's game against Oklahoma will certainly be a litmus test for both teams. Moreover, this year's Red River Showdown could have a tremendous impact on Sarkisian's football program, both on the field and off.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31
Tristan Larsen (4-1)
Oklahoma has been holding on to their 5-0 record by the skin of their teeth. Now, they match up with Texas in a game that should serve as their toughest test at this point in the season.
Spencer Rattler, by many a first round selection, has been slightly disappointing this season, but so has the Oklahoma offensive line. Texas has had a new burst of energy since Casey Thompson became the starter a few weeks ago. Nonetheless the battle will be Bijan Robinson verse the Oklahoma defensive front. The Sooners are just one of 15 teams in the nation that are holding opponents to under 100 yards a game on the ground. They haven’t faced someone remotely close to the caliber of player that Robinson is though. Conventional wisdom would make you to think to choose Texas to win this one. Oklahoma has been struggling, winning multiple games by one possession. The Sooners however seem like the team that will just find a way to keep surviving. No matter how ugly they look in some weeks they just keep surviving. Robinson will keep Texas in it, but Texas’ inability to get to Rattler will be their downfall.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 28
Mitch Lovell (4-1)
The latest edition of the RRS will be tight from start to finish. At the end of the day I think Lincoln Riley will have his offense looking better than it has all season, and prove to be just too much for the Longhorns.
Score Prediction: Oklahoma 31, Texas 28
Aaron Carrara (4-1)
The Sooners are a better team than their on-field performances indicate through five games. Texas is.... well, we're still unsure if Texas is a Big 12 contender or lower tier bowl team? What we do know is the Longhorns have their quarterback in Casey Thompson and a legit Heisman candidate in Bijan Robinson. I would feel much better about picking Texas in this one if the passing game was clicking, but I'm taking the Longhorns anyways. Oklahoma hasn't shown they can put together a complete game, and the Longhorns take advantage of that and win by a Cameron Dicker field goal.
Score Prediction: Texas 34, Oklahoma 31
Throw out the records for both teams headed into the Cotton Bowl. Texas feels like the more prepared team at this point, and I expect Casey Thompson and the Longhorn WRs to have a bounce back game after their struggles in Fort Worth, especially if OU keys on Bijan Robinson. Sark grabs tons of momentum for the remainder of the season this Saturday in Dallas.
Score Prediction: Texas 35, Oklahoma 30
The Longhorns and Sooners will square off at 11:00 am on Saturday at the Cotton Bowl for the 117th time in history. The Sooners are ranked in the Top 10 but have struggled in several games this season. Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian rolls into his first Red River Rivalry with a 3-game winning streak and a Heisman candidate running back.
Here are four things to keep an eye on that could help Texas leave Dallas with the Golden Hat.
1. Can the Longhorns OL hold their own?
Oklahoma’s best unit on their team may very well be their defensive line. This will also likely be the toughest line Texas will face all season on the defensive side of the ball. Yes, even better than the Razorbacks' that dominated Texas for sixty minutes. Oklahoma linebacker Nick Bonnito vs left tackle Christian Jones will serve as a key matchup that could determine who wins in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday. Bonnito has a lethal combination of speed and power and Jones has struggled in pass blocking at times this year. This is a matchup in which Steve Sarkisian must give Jones some additional help in the form of a running back or tight end to chip Bonnito. The Longhorns have gotten significantly better play from their offensive line since leaving Fayetteville but this will be a major test.
2. Will Sark have his team ready for his first rumble with the Sooners?
While Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has coached and played in big rivalry games, this one is just a little different. Saturday's game takes place at a neutral site, and brings a blend of road and home atmosphere into one raucous stadium. In few games can you feel the momentum shift like this one, and Texas must start fast which has been a problem for the Longhorns in past years. Sark is a great offensive mind and he will likely lay all the chips on the table and hold nothing back to try and win this one.
3. Oklahoma will test the Longhorn DB’s... how will they react?
The Texas secondary hasn’t been tested too often this season and when they have been it hasn’t gone particularly well. Texas Tech attacked the corners downfield and had great success in doing so. I was surprised that Gary Patterson and TCU didn’t do the same last week in Fort Worth, especially without starter Josh Thompson. You can bet that Lincoln Riley will test the secondary over and over on Saturday. If they hold their own it could be a long day for an Oklahoma offense that has struggled at times this year. The Sooners haven't had their typical explosive offense but they still have talent in their wide receiver room. Tight end Austin Stogner can present issues in coverage as well and it will be a task for the Longhorns to slow him down as well.
4. Can the Longhorns DL wreck havoc on Oklahoma’s OL?
Oklahoma is known for having elite offensive lineman year after year but this season they look vulnerable. This is an area where Texas should be able to beat Oklahoma in the trenches. Texas has been rotating several defensive linemen in every game to keep players fresh to maximize reps. Spencer Rattler hasn’t lived up to expectations so far this year, largely in part due to the Oklahoma line being subpar. As we saw last year in Dallas when Rattler was benched, if you get to him early he can be rattled. When that happens, bad throws turn into interceptions. Getting pressure will be pivotal in this game for the Longhorns.
Texas improved to 2-0 in Big 12 play last Saturday after securing a big win in Fort Worth against TCU, but all focus has now shifted to the Red River Rivalry and the 117th meeting between Texas and Oklahoma.
The Sooners enter the game with a 5-0 record but have had some unexpected scares to open the season, including close wins over Tulane, Nebraska and West Virginia.
What has caused some head scratching performances from Lincoln Riley's team and what can Texas expect on Saturday afternoon? Let's dive in:
Expectations were sky high for sophomore QB Spencer Rattler after a really good freshman campaign. Rattler entered the season has the favorite for the Heisman trophy and it was widely thought he would be the first QB off the board in the 2022 NFL draft. So what has gone wrong for the Oklahoma QB? Rattler's decision making has taken a step back this year. He is pushing the ball down the field into very tight windows and as a result, Riley is choosing to not call as many downfield shots as previous years. Rattler did have his best game of the season a week ago against Kansas State, completing 22 of 25 passes for 243 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but still tossed an ill-advised interception where he underthrew a WR along the sideline.
Another underlying issue is the Oklahoma offensive line, which is giving Rattler very little protection compared to what we are used to seeing from Bill Bedenbaugh's unit. Despite having 4 senior starters up front, the Sooners have allowed 9 sacks on the season, including 6 the last two games against West Virginia and Kansas State.
The Oklahoma running game has also not been as explosive as in years past. The Sooners only have two scholarship running backs on the roster, Tennessee transfer Eric Gray and Kennedy Brooks. Both are averaging over 5.0 yards a carry, but as a team the Sooners are only averaging 155 rushing yards per game, which ranks 75th in the country.
Oklahoma does have plenty of weapons to get the ball to when the passing game is clicking. Marvin Mims leads the team with 264 receiving yards on 14 catches but has yet to find the endzone so far this year. Arkansas transfer Mike Woods and true freshman Mario Williams are tied for the team tied in receptions with 20. Riley also loves to utilize TE Austin Stogner and FB/TE Jeremiah Hall in the passing game. Stogner had a good game against the Longhorns a year ago (6 catches for 56 yards and a TD).
Alex Grinch has a done a really good job of turning around the Oklahoma defense compared to where they were just 3 years ago. This is the most talented defensive unit the Sooners have had in quite a while, and it all starts up front with the defensive line. The Longhorns offensive line will face their toughest test of the season going against Nic Bonitto and Isaiah Thomas coming off the edge. With Denzel Okafor out for the season with a knee injury, Kyle Flood will be counting on Andrej Karic to hold his own while making his first career start at RT.
On the backend, Oklahoma has one of the best safety duos in the conference in Pat Fields and Delarrin Turner-Yell, who missed last weeks game but is expected to return on Saturday. Freshman Billy Bowman, who was committed to Texas for over a year before flipping to Oklahoma, starts at nickel and has flashed a ton of a potential.
Overall, Alex Grinch is going to lean heavily on his defensive line to slow down the Texas running game and put the Longhorns into 3rd and long situations where he is able to turn up the heat with the pass rush. Grinch is very aggressive so do not expect Oklahoma to sit on their heels and let the game come to them.
Oklahoma has a few more holes than people would have thought heading into the season, but they are still a top 10 team in the county and should be favored on paper. The biggest question mark is going to be if Texas is able to move the ball through the air offensively. Alex Grinch is going to dedicate almost all of his resources to stopping Bijan Robinson, so the Longhorns will need to connect on some big plays through the air which is something they were not able to do in Fort Worth.
Defensively for Texas, the play of Spencer Rattler is a true wildcard. He appeared to settle into a groove last week against Kansas State but is still prone to costly turnovers. If the Longhorns are able to slow down the Oklahoma rushing attack and force Rattler to beat them down the field with a shaky offensive line, then Texas has a really good chance of emerging victorious.
The Texas Longhorns' recruiting class for 2022, already ranked 5th in the country according to the 247Sports Team Rankings, is filled with 14 four-star commits. Not only did Sarkisian and company add a 15th, but they added quite possibly the best one yet on Wednesday.
Texas, say hello to Brenen Thompson.
Thompson is a four-star wide receiver out of Spearman, Texas playing for the Spearman Lynx. The 5’10 wideout is a speedster, who most recruits and analysts alike agree will be electric at the next level. Per the 247Sports Composite, he’s the 14th ranked player in the state of Texas and the 11th ranked player at his position in the nation. Per those same rankings, Thompson is the highest-ranked recruit Texas has landed in its 2022 class. Coach Sarkisian has struck again.
Thompson joins Armani Winfield as the lone other wide receiver commit in the class. After beefing up the defensive line, it’s clear what direction Sarkisian and company are heading in to fill out the rest of the class.
The speedy wide receiver this year had made visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Oregon along with Texas. He held offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, and Oklahoma among others. At the end of the day, Thompson is staying home.
Earlier this year, Thompson was clocked at running a 10.38 and a 21.27 in the 100 and 200-meter dash respectively. His 21.27 was good enough to win the Class 3A 200-meter state championship. Thus, Thompson, despite being injured, has been dubbed as one of the fastest athletes in this class. He’s now Sarkisian’s newest weapon at Texas for years to come.
Name: Brenen Thompson
Position: Wide Recevier
High School: Spearman
City, State: Spearman, Texas
Three Best Traits
Pure Speed - If it wasn’t clear from the text above, lining up Thompson out wide and saying hike is like firing a bullet out of a gun. Thompson uses his acceleration to get off the line and embarrass opposing defensive backs from the get-go. Even if a defensive back manages to stay with him through his first move, good luck trying to keep Thompson maintained in man coverage any longer than that. From a sheer athlete perspective, he is near one of a kind.
Diversity - At Spearman, Thompson lined up all over the field. He took snaps at wide receiver, running back, and cornerback. Needless to say, he did it all for the Lynx. He’s ultimately just a fun weapon for Sarkisian to utilize in a variety of ways. Just give Thompson the ball in open space and watch for great things to happen.
Athleticism - While most everyone who earns a Division-I scholarship can list athleticism as a strength, Thompson’s athleticism puts him in the top 1% of the top 1%. He’s a guy who’s so fast and so naturally gifted you have to game plan for him if you’re an opposing defensive coordinator. The list of guys who can do the things that Thompson can do on the football field is very, very small.
Areas for Improvement
Experience at the Highest Level - Spearman, being 3A, is a small school. Thus, he didn’t have too much competition at the 3A level. Now, this criticism does go both ways as it’s equally as impressive seeing what he does with such little help around him. Still, one has to wonder if the lack of competition could delay his progress at the next level.
True WR Ability - In High School Thompson was used as an offensive weapon and has many good qualities for a wide receiver. But since he played so much elsewhere on the field he didn’t have time to focus as much on route running and ball skills. There’s no doubt however that this is something Sarkisian’s staff can work on with Thompson as soon as he enters the Forty Acres.
Ultimately, this is a giant win for the Longhorns. Thompson should very quickly become a household name in the Sarkisian offense. The stacked class that is the Longhorns' 2022 Class just got even more stacked. Despite the loss of Quinn Ewers and others, Sarkisian and this staff have gone above and beyond to ensure this is one of the better Texas recruiting classes in recent memory.
Texas’ 2022 class is about to take the next step. It was already top-five, but with Thompson’s commitment it could rise to as high as number two in the nation ahead of SEC powerhouses such as Alabama and Georgia. Of the 22 total commits Thompson is just the seventh on offense for Texas. He joins fellow four-star running backs, Jaydon Blue and Jamarion Miller along with his future quarterback Maalik Murphy. Rounding out the offense is the aforementioned Winfield along with multiple interior linemen, Cole Hutson and Conner Robertson. The future of Texas football is looking glaringly bright, and when they make the move to the SEC, they’ll have the weapons to compete.
After visiting the University of Texas two weekends in a row, Harold Perkins was a player that I wanted to see in action. So, on Thursday, I travelled to Cypress, TX to see what the 2022 five-star linebacker could do against Cypress Lakes.
Additionally, on Friday, I covered Stony Point's district matchup against Cedar Ridge to watch 2023 running back Cameron Cook, who has recently received an offer from Southern California.
Despite being projected as a star linebacker at the collegiate level, Perkins is Cypress Park's main weapon on offense. In fact, Perkins, who plays on both sides of the ball, currently leads the team in rushing with 627 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Entering Thursday's game, Cy Park had a 4-0 record and was off to a hot start to their season. In contrast, the Cy Lakes Spartans have stumbled out of the gate - with an uninspiring 0-4 record. However, after watching the Spartans line up against Cy Park, it is apparent that their roster has some aptitude for football.
Unfortunately for Cy Lakes, Perkins was a man on a mission for the Tigers, rushing for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 7 carries. Also, funny enough, it seemed like Cy Park's coaching staff tried their best to keep Perkins on the sidelines to get him some rest. However, after the Tigers offense would find itself in a third-and-long, or even fourth-and-long situation, Perkins was subbed back in on mop-up duty.
For example, at one point in the first quarter, Cy Park found themselves in a fourth-and-seven situation in opponent's territory. Out of both field goal & punt range, Cy Park opted to instead dial up a run play for Perkins who took it to the house - giving the Tigers a 14-0 lead.
It is not difficult to see why Perkins is so highly touted, thanks to his jaw-dropping athleticism that he makes look easy. And, while he had a relatively quiet night on defense, thanks to Cy Lakes avoiding his side of the field, Perkins was still able to tally a sack.
When the final whistle blew, Cy Park advanced to 5-0 with a 56-0 win over Cy Lakes.
Like Thursday's game, I was excited to watch two teams that I had never covered before in Stony Point and Cedar Ridge. So far this season, Cedar Ridge has been a team to beat in the 25-6A district, along with Vandegrift. Meanwhile, Stony Point has gotten off to a shaky start to their season and would face a big challenge against the Raiders.
For Stony Point, the passing game quickly became obsolete against a dynamic Raiders defense. Cedar Ridge's pass rush was simply too dominant, forcing a countless number of sacks and quarterback pressures. Additionally, Raiders senior Jackson Donohoe was able to make a nice diving interception grab in the second quarter.
As a result, the offense had to rely on senior Jaden Leonard and junior Cameron Cook to run the ball against a stacked box. Both Leonard and Cook showed flashes of success running the football, however in the end the Raiders defense did not allow many big plays.
When presented with a decent running lanes, Cook was able to piece together sizable runs. However, Cook did have a second half fumble, which he was able to bounce back from as he had his longest rush of the game afterwards.
For Cedar Ridge, junior quarterback Aidan Liston had an impressive outing, throwing for three touchdown passes. Liston was delivering an accurate ball all night and had no problem hitting receivers in stride.
Senior receivers Matthew Brooks and Taye Jackson both look like solid receiving threats. Brooks showcased his big 6'3" frame on a couple of catches while Jackson showcased his speed on a deep-pass by Liston that resulted in a touchdown.
Lastly, on offense, junior running back Karlos Jackson II was bouncing off of defenders and was taking advantage of sound offensive line play by Cedar Ridge. Furthermore, Jackson was involved in the scoring action as he rushed for a first quarter touchdown.
Ultimately, the Raiders were able to win in style, 34-0.
I imagine that there are several players on Texas's recruiting big board that would be viewed as home run additions, one of them having to be Harold Perkins. While Texas is very much in the race for Perkins, evident by his back-to-back trips to the Forty Acres, they have some work to do to land him. In fact, Perkins currently has two 247Sports crystal ball predictions in favor of Texas A&M. But, I believe that it is still too early to guess where he will end up. Moreover, Perkins will not be making his commitment until January at the Under Armour All-American game.
Switching topics, I enjoyed watching the Stony Point versus Cedar Ridge game. The Raiders have a lot of talent and have the ability to upset a team or two in the playoffs. For Stony Point, I liked what I saw from Cameron Cook but I will have to see him again in the future. It is clear that the junior running back has some talent but it is difficult to be showcased when going against a dominant Raiders squad. But, whenever USC is one of the first schools to offer a Texas kid, your ears should perk up.