Texas football vs. OU: 4 bold predictions for an unpredictable Red River

Xavier Worthy, Texas football
Xavier Worthy, Texas football /
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Bijan Robinson, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Bijan Robinson, Texas football Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports /

The highly anticipated matchup between Texas football and the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry game is now just a few days away. On Oct. 8, Texas will face Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas to go for a win in Red River for the first time since 2018.

There is just a different excitement in the air when the Longhorns get to face the Sooners in Red River. This week also has a certain excitement in the air that head coach Steve Sarkisian and the Longhorns can continue to improve in Big 12 play if they can top new head coach Brent Venables and the Sooners this weekend.

Texas comes into Red River with confidence this year after the convincing win at home on Oct. 1 over the West Virginia Mountaineers by the final score of 38-20. That was a much-needed response for the Longhorns to get the first win of the Big 12 slate after the disappointing upset loss on the road in overtime a couple of weeks ago at the hands of the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma isn’t in a great spot right now as they’re about as banged up as it gets following a blowout loss last weekend on the road against the TCU Horned Frogs. That gives the Sooners a record of 3-2 (1-1 Big 12).

Bold predictions for the unpredictable Red River Rivalry game between Texas football and OU

Here’s a look at four bold predictions for the Longhorns against the Sooners in Red River on Oct. 8.

Texas holds OU to less than 125 rushing yards

An area of the offense that regressed in the last two games was the rushing attack. OU averaged less than four yards per carry for the second time this season in the loss to TCU. And if OU is missing running backs Marcus Major and Eric Gray this weekend due to injury, that takes two of OU’s three leading rushers out of the equation.

While Oklahoma is still one of the team rushing leaders in the conference so far this season, averaging just over 220 rushing yards per game, that number is on the decline of late.

Another factor that could hurt OU in the ground game this weekend is the potential absence of senior offensive tackle Wanya Morris. If Morris is out due to injury this week, that would take the highest-graded run blocker out of the mix for the Sooners. Morris is a key part of what OC Jeff Lebby and the Sooners want to do with the power run game to set the tone on the ground.

Lebby and the Sooners like to spread the field and hit the wide alleys on power zone run plays. In order for that to succeed, though, OU must be able to hold the edge with the blocking assignment from the offensive tackle. On the right side of the line, that responsibility belonged to Morris.

Thus if Morris is out for this game, along with Major and Gray, that could greatly limit with the Sooners can do on the ground.

I’d like DeMarvion Overshown and Jaylan Ford’s chances to get up field and blow up some run plays in the backfield if OU is missing their top-graded run blocker at one of the tackle spots, and two of the three leading rushers.

Yet, Texas is still facing a potent running back this weekend in freshman Jovantae Barnes. In the absence of Major and Gray against TCU, Barnes went for 100 rushing yards and two scores on 5.6 yards per carry.