When Oklahoma Has The Ball
Oklahoma's running game vs. Texas' defense
Adrian Peterson practiced this week and will get the start for the Sooners. Look for the Texas defensive front, led by All-American candidate Rod Wright to take aim on AD's tender ankle early in the game. The emergence of quarterback Rhett Bomar as a running threat should also have an effect the Texas game plan.
Once again, the Oklahoma offensive line will have a different look this week, as Chris Chester is out with an injury. If the Sooners can win the battle up front, they should be able to gain good yardage on the ground against a Texas defense that isn't as strong behind the front four. Aaron Harris is an awards candidate at middle linebacker, but he is flanked by two first year starters-a sophomore and a redshirt freshman in Drew Kelson and Rashad Bobino.
Oklahoma's passing game vs. Texas' secondary
It's getting better each week, but the Oklahoma passing game will need to be much better if the Sooners are going to have a chance to win this week. Travis Wilson will likely draw extra attention from the Texas secondary and it is imperative for one of the young wide receivers to establish themselves as an additional pass catching threat. The Sooners threw more to the tight end last week and that could be another way to open up the passing game against Texas.
Bomar must be aware of the Texas rush that has racked up 13 sacks in the first four games. Coming off of a game in which the offense had no turnovers, Oklahoma must continue that trend and control the football against the Longhorns.
Texas secondary is experienced and currently ranks eighth nationally, but Oklahoma can have success in the passing game if Bomar gets adequate protection.
When Texas has the ball
Texas' rushing offense against Oklahoma's defense
Freshman Jamaal Charles has emerged as a budding star, averaging over 110 yards per game and over eight yards per carry in the 'Horns first four contests. Vince Young is a well-know running threat and already has over 300 yards this season. Oklahoma knows Young will have a couple of breakout runs, but they need to contain him to a couple of 20-yard runs rather than any 60-yard cross-country jaunts.
Oklahoma is currently third in the nation in rushing defense, the Longhorns are at the top in rushing offense, so one stat will change after this game. Led by Dusty Dvoracek, look for Oklahoma to keep Texas well below their 310-yard average so far this season.
Texas' passing game against Oklahoma's secondary
Even though Young has completed an impressive 65% of his passes so far, he has also thrown five interceptions. Billy Pittman has been his big play wide receiver, but most of Young's completions have been short passes to tight end David Thomas or running back Charles.
Despite his running prowess, Young has been sacked five times this year, showing that he will try to stay in the pocket more in passing situations.
Oklahoma has to get support in pass coverage from the linebackers in order to keep the Texas short passing game in check. With the Sooners defensive front likely forcing the Longhorns to go to the air more, this will be a key area in the contest.
Texas has an excellent punt return man in Aaron Ross, who is averaging almost 20 yards per return and has an 88-yard touchdown to his credit. Balance that against the fact that Oklahoma has not allowed a return longer than 10 yards and in fact, has allowed only four punts to be returned this season. And the Sooners are holding kickoff returns to less than 13 yards an attempt. Extending those numbers will be another factor in Oklahoma's success on Saturday.
The Longhorns use different specialists for kickoffs and field goals, with field goal kicker David Pino a perfect 5-for-5 so far this season, including two from beyond 40 yards. Greg Johnson handles the kickoff chores and teams have averaged over 20 yards a return against Texas this season. With Travis Wilson and Reggie Smith both showing good runback ability on kickoffs for the Sooners that could be an area where Oklahoma can produce a big play.
Punter Richmond McGee hasn't been called upon often with Texas scoring so many points this season. Only one of his 10 punts has been returned and he is averaging over 41 yards per kick.
The Sooners' Cody Freeby is averaging more than 42 yards per kick and will need to continue his solid play against this week. Garrett Hartley is becoming more consistent on kickoffs and field goals each week for the Sooners. He's now 5-for-7 on the year on field goals and has hit his only attempt over 40 yards.
OU-Texas Scouting Report
Sooners Illustrated Top Stories
Joe Mixon selected by BengalsFormer OU running back Joe Mixon comes off the NFL Draft board, selected by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Sooners Illustrated5:25 PM
Miguel Edwards commits to SoonersOU is back on the commitment board with high 3-star cornerback Miguel Edwards.
Sooners Illustrated1:32 PM
Mini-Sooner Intel: OU news and nuggetsIntel returns with a behind the scenes look at OU's 2018 class and in-state recruiting.
Sooners Illustrated5:09 AM
Patrick Fields rolls on as OU's face of 2018Rough patch in recruiting not slowing down Patrick Fields as OU's face of the 2018 class.
Sooners IllustratedYesterday at 9:45 AM