Setting the stage: Red River Showdown

Time for talking is almost over. One last look at OU and Texas before Saturday's game.

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma’s game during the 2014 season.

No. 11 OU (4-1, 1-1) vs. Texas (2-3, 1-1) at the Cotton Bowl

When: 11 a.m. CST

OU’s biggest question going into the game

Will OU’s passing game be able to find its groove? A lot of people want to forget about last Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, at TCU. But nobody would like to do so more than quarterback Trevor Knight and his wide receivers.

Outside of Sterling Shepard, nobody else was able to make a real impact against the Horned Frogs and that’s an awful sign heading into the showdown against the Longhorns.

Texas shut down Bryce Petty and the high-powered Baylor offense for most of the game last week before wearing down a bit in the second half.

OU’s passing offense hasn’t been nearly as prolific or consistent as Baylor’s so this is going to be a huge gut check moment for the Sooners aerial attack.

Texas’ biggest question going into the game

Is this the game quarterback Tyrone Swoopes puts it together? You want to make a name for yourself at Texas? Do it against Oklahoma.

Swoopes has been inconsistent during his first several games at starting quarterback, but the OU defense is prone to giving up huge plays in the passing game.

If OU cannot put solid pressure on Swoopes and make him think too much, there’s going to be a chance for him to make some plays, either with his arm or with his leg.

No doubt the Texas run game is going to be the focus for OU. Texas wants to make Trevor Knight beat it, and OU is the same way with Swoopes.

Quotable

“It’s really not, for us. The stakes all increase when they put us in the – in the old Big 12 – they put us in the same division. Not only in the same conference, in the same division. So as opposed to being an out-of-conference game ahead of that, to me, that increased the stakes tenfold. And then for how many years, I don’t know how many years that was. For one of us, for us – maybe seven times – one of us was going to represent the South in the Big 12 championship game, for I don’t know how many years. That’s how it was so, again, we had it – I think seven times – so you knew that was a big part of getting to that game. Now you’re all in the same conference so it’s a little bit different. I just look at it strategically on trying to win the conference. Outside of that, you pull the bus through the state fair and that’s a little different than most cases. You get on the field and it’s always loud because half the stadium is OU, half is Texas – so that’s a little different. As far as playing, nothing is different for us. You get ready the same, you execute the same, and strategy-wise nothing changes. The atmosphere is just different.” OU coach Bob Stoops

Breakout player

Last year was a game Blake Bell would love to forget. It was a rough outing for Bell, who was the starting quarterback. At tight end, he hasn’t had a lot of opportunities, but you know he has been itching for this chance. He still won’t get many touches, but he’s going to make them count and notch his second score of the season.

Prediction

OU 27, Texas 15. Both teams are reeling a bit and need to get back on track. OU is able to jump out to an early lead to reverse the trend from the last couple of years. With Texas playing from behind, Longhorns are unable to get their passing game to click in time as OU sends Charlie Strong to his first loss in the rivalry.


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