Texas football vs. Oklahoma State: 4 bold predictions for major road test

Quinn Ewers, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Quinn Ewers, Texas football (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Dominic Richardson Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports
Dominic Richardson Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports /

Texas holds Oklahoma State running backs to under 75 rushing yards

One of the biggest advantages that Texas could hold in this game over the Pokes lies in the trenches for this run defense. Texas’ interior defensive line is one of the very best not just in the Big 12, but in the entire country this season. Texas boasts three of the top five interior defensive linemen in the Big 12 with the highest win rates in the pass rush this season.

And two of the five highest-graded interior defensive linemen in the Big 12 in run defense this season are also both Longhorns players (Moro Ojomo is No. 1 and Byron Murphy is No. 5).

Texas has played well against the interior run game so far this season. The interior defensive line combinations that co-DC/LB coach Pete Kwiatkowski and the Longhorns are running this season on three-down linemen looks on most plays are working well in run defense to say the very least.

That should play well for them against Oklahoma State, who just so happens to not be able to run the ball well up the middle. According to Football Outsiders, Oklahoma State ranks 80th in the FBS in standard down line yards per carry and 82nd in average line yards per carry. That indicates Oklahoma State is not running the ball successfully very often this season.

Meanwhile, Texas ranks in the top 15 in the FBS in stuff rate this season, which doesn’t bode well for junior running back Dominic Richardson and the Oklahoma State ground game this weekend.

Despite forcing nearly 0.3 missed tackles per carry (the average in the Big 12 for running backs on carries this season is around 0.21) on runs in the A-gaps this season, Richardson is averaging roughly 3.5 yards per carry.

That is indicative of the struggles that the interior offensive line is having to move bodies off the line of scrimmage to create lanes up the middle for Richardson to explode through.

There is also an overall lack of explosiveness for Richardson so far this season. He doesn’t have a single run play of more than 19 yards on the season. He’s got a breakaway run percentage of just 12.5 this season, good for worst among Big 12 running backs.

Last season against Texas, Richardson had three carries for zero yards. And that was with a better interior offensive line blocking in front of him and a less effective Texas interior defensive line on the opposite side of the LOS. This looks like it could be a long game for Richardson on Saturday.