By: Shaw Butler
Well Longhorn fans, it’s here. The Longhorns travel to Dallas this weekend to face the Oklahoma Sooners for what seems to be stacking up to a great matchup. Given the dramatic finish of last year, it seems nearly impossible for this game to come anywhere near that. However, unlike last year, our one loss on our record is from LSU, arguably one of the top teams in the country, and not Maryland. Before I completely get into the preview for this week, I find it important to touch on some things I saw from this past weekend. I thought we played decent overall, but definitely not our best. Obviously, we were still pretty beaten up with injuries and we were playing in Morganstown, a traditionally tough place to play. We once again executed very well on third down and dominated the possession game. Our defense was able to create four turnovers, including a spectacular one-handed interception by cornerback D’Shawn Jamison, which bailed us out a few times considering we gave up 460 yards of offense. All in all, considering that it was the week before OU, I am pleased that we were able to stay focused on West Virginia and not lose a trap game.
Oklahoma comes into this game once again undefeated and with a seemingly flawless offense. According to almost everyone, Oklahoma looks as good as any team in the country. Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts leads their offense from under center and is putting up wild numbers. Hurts is a clear Heisman contender and is surrounded by plenty of talent in the backfield and at the wide receiver position. Even the betting line started at Oklahoma -10.5. While those stats look great on paper, nobody is talking about the fact that they haven’t played anyone. Last year, the hype was real after knocking off Iowa State and Baylor before playing Texas. This year, their opponents are highlighted by a 3-2 Texas Tech team that gave them some trouble early on. Other opponents include Houston, UCLA, and Kansas. All of those teams are led by new coaches who are still trying to develop a culture within their programs. Meanwhile, Texas showed against LSU that they can play with the best in the country.
The Sooners are going to put up points and fast. Our defense has not looked that great and we should prepare to have them move the ball all over us. However, while Jalen Hurts is good, he is not quite the same player Kyler Murray or Baker Mayfield were. Let’s not forget that Jalen Hurts lost his job during the CFP Championship after not rising to the occasion. He then was unable to regain his job which ultimately is the reason he transferred. Hurts is a great player, but he does not have the same killer instinct that Mayfield or Murray had. This is why I think Texas can come out strong and punch them in the mouth. Hurts is playing very confidently and even told reporters he wasn’t nervous for this game, comparing it to the Iron Bowl, a game in which essentially sealed his decision to transfer after his teammate Tua Tagovailoa played lights out. Hurts is the key to this game for the Longhorns and the Sooners. If he plays lights out and that offense is clicking, we likely have no shot at winning. But, if we can get to Hurts early and hurt his confidence Texas could be looking at back to back Red River Rivalry wins.
This is going to be a statement game for both schools. Not only it is a rivalvy, but it is a chance for each team to legitimize their chances at a potential playoff berth or add an impressive win to their bowl resume. It is going to be a physical matchup across the board, but I think the Longhorns have what it takes to knock off the Sooners. If we control the ball with long drives and can put pressure on Hurts early, we should be in perfect shape to take home to Golden Hat back to Austin once again.