The wide receivers have been one of the unsung strengths of this Longhorn team, with a number of playmakers taking advantage of quarterback David Ash's increased accuracy. Mike Davis and Marquise Goodwin each hauled in long passes and topped the 100-yard mark against Ole Miss. Jaxon Shipley scored three touchdowns against Oklahoma State. They're deadly on jump balls in one-on-one situations. And that's before Texas gets into its depth of speedsters including D.J. Monroe and Daje Johnson, who are deadly on jet sweeps. The underrated part of this group is their blocking … they've been absolutely tenacious on the edge, with Goodwin arguably serving as the league's top blocking wideout despite his diminutive size. With the emergence of the tight ends over the past few weeks — D.J. Grant caught a huge 29-yarder on a key fourth down against the Cowboys and both he and freshman M.J. McFarland caused West Virginia issues in the passing game — it can really cause defense headaches. Ash does a nice job of spreading the ball around, and there's no shortage of targets here.
When defensive coordinator Mike Stoops arrived, one of his immediate plans was to get Aaron Colvin out on an island. He believed that was Colvin's most suitable position and he could be a shutdown corner. Colvin has not disappointed thus far, especially the other night against Texas Tech when he came up with some of the game's biggest plays, including an acrobatic interception where he snatched Seth Doege's pass out of midair on a blitz. On the other side, there's senior veteran corner Demontre Hurst, a three-year starter, who has the capability to lock up his guys on the outside as well. The two have combined to basically eliminate the big play this year, outside of one long touchdown pass against Florida A&M surrendered by Hurst.
Oklahoma's cornerbacks are excellent, with Colvin playing at a high level next to the proven Hurst. But do the Sooners have the depth to match up with the Longhorns on a play-by-plays basis? Oklahoma played well here against Texas Tech, but the Red Raiders haven't been firing as well offensively this season. Meanwhile, the Longhorn group gave Oklahoma State's duo of Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert issues. This isn't a big advantage, but at this point, it's one that has to go to the Longhorns.
There's no doubt Shipley could cause the Sooners fits. His 250 yards and four touchdowns demonstrate his playmaking ability in the receiving game. Davis, too, could light the Sooners up on the outside, and he probably especially has some fire for this one after former OU cornerback Jamell Fleming ripped the ball out of his hands and took it to the house last year. The jet sweep with Monroe and Johnson could also be problematic. Still, there's just too much evidence to support the Sooner corners here. Colvin and Hurst have been so solid in anchoring the OU secondary into the nation's eighth-best passing efficiency defense. It's extremely hard to see quarterback David Ash beating the Sooners in the passing game on the outside. If he's going to do so, it'll most likely have to be the underneath and inside game.