OU vs. Texas Preview Special: Part I

Sooners Illustrated breaks down the three most intriguing things about the upcoming Red River Rivalry matchup this weekend.

1. Two first-time starting quarterbacks--Yes, Sooner quarterback Landry Jones played a significant amount of snaps in the contest a year ago after Heisman QB Sam Bradford was knocked out early and ultimately sidelined for the rest of the season. But he still didn't start the game. Neither did UT quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who will be the starting signal caller for the Longhorns for his first time. Jones figures to have much more poise for that reason, especially early, but it will be interesting to see how both of them handle starting on this big of a stage.

2. OU's struggling defense vs. Texas' struggling offense--The Sooners are having trouble eliminating the big play. The Longhorns are having trouble making it. Through four games, OU is 93rd in rushing yards per game, as it is giving up 177.5, and 90th in passing yards per game, allowing 243.8. UT, meanwhile, ranks 76th in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 135.5 rushing yards per game and not much better in passing yards per game, with 221.3 for 60th in the FBS. One has to give.

3. Jones vs. Texas' stifling secondary and defense--Jones ranks fifth in the FBS with 1,221 passing yards throughout his first four games. So, he's been picking apart secondaries for more than 300 yards per game. But Texas' defense is allowing only 128.8 passing yards per game en route to ranking second in the FBS in total yards given up per game (227.8). So, for as bad as Texas' offense has been, its defense has been that good and then some. But Jones will certainly be the Longhorns' biggest test thus far.

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