Texas vs Oklahoma: Rout or Tight Game? Who's More Battle-Tested?

Lisa Horne@LisaHornePac-12 and Big 12 Lead WriterOctober 10, 2012

DALLAS - OCTOBER 11:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns and Bob Stoops of the Oklahoma Sooners greet each other at the end of the game at the Cotton Bowl on October 11, 2003 in Dallas, Texas.  The Sooners defeated the Longhorns 65-13.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Oh yeah, it's on. The Red River Rivalry. 

We've been waiting for you. 

Texas currently holds the overall lead in the Red River Rivalry 59-42-5, but Oklahoma is riding a two-game win streak. Since 2000, Oklahoma has owned the series winning eight of the 12 games played with two of those games—in 2000 and 2003—resulting in blowouts.

Last year Oklahoma beat Texas 55-17 but the game was tightly contested; after one quarter of play, Oklahoma led Texas 6-3. Oklahoma exploded in the second quarter scoring 21 unanswered points before Texas could collect itself and respond.

The game got crazy. Demontre Hurst intercepted a pass and returned it 55 yards for a Sooner touchdown but on the ensuing kickoff, Fozzy Whittaker took it to the house for a 100-yard Longhorn touchdown. 

And that's the way this rivalry game has always been. It's exciting as hell. 

But all the previous games and scores mean nothing this Saturday. The bottom line is that one of these two Big 12 powerhouses is going to leave Dallas with two losses. Two losses that could leave either out of the chase for the Big 12 crown.  

It's all about this Saturday. 

There are some question marks going into this game. Are the Sooners really back? Was the Longhorns' defense exposed against Oklahoma State and West Virginia? Which team has been more battle-tested?


The Sooners lost 24-19 to Kansas State before rebounding after a bye and beating Texas Tech 41-20. Quarterback Landry Jones had good numbers going 25-of-40 for 259 yards and two touchdowns. But that was against Texas Tech.

The Longhorns' offense should present a greater challenge to the Sooners' defense. Oklahoma, so far, has played UTEP, Florida A&M, Kansas State and Texas Tech—two cupcakes, one middle-tiered league game and one tough league game. 

Texas, on the other hand, has played Wyoming, New Mexico, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State and West Virginia—two cupcakes, a SEC game on the road and two tough league games.

Clearly, Texas is more battle-tested. Does it matter?

In the last two years, the answer appeared to be yes. In 2010, Oklahoma had played Utah State, Florida State, Air Force and Cincinnati before beating Texas 28-20. Texas had played Rice, Wyoming, Texas Tech and UCLA. 

The following year Oklahoma had played Tulsa, Florida State, Missouri and Ball State before beating Texas 55-17. Oklahoma had played Rice, BYU, UCLA and Iowa State. 

This year Texas is more battle-tested and has gone 1-1 against two of the four big threats in the Big 12—Oklahoma and Kansas State remain. The Longhorns' 1-1 record against two of the four big boys is better than the Sooners' 0-1. 

Anything else? 

Oklahoma looked good against Texas Tech and appeared to have put the Red Raiders' highly-touted pass defense to bed. Texas looks also very good offensively, but...their defense...has given up some big plays. 


Quarterback Landry Jones may be able to expose some holes in the Longhorn secondary but can he match the points put up by quarterback David Ash? The Longhorns' pass defense is yielding an average of 221.8 yards per game, but they've played teams with passing offenses ranked No. 2, No. 5, No. 42, No. 70 and No. 124.  

Oklahoma's pass defense yields an average 161.8 yards per game, which is very impressive, until you dig deeper and find that of the FBS teams they've played, the opposing teams' passing offenses were ranked No. 7, No. 93 and No. 111. 

Oklahoma opened as a 2.5 point favorite and is currently favored by three points. Perhaps it's because Texas running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (hip) are listed as questionable for this game. However, Hicks has reportedly been at practice and is running.

The running game is key for both teams. Since 2000, the team that has rushed for the most yards has won 10 of the 11 Red River Rivalry games.

This won't be a rout. This will be a game of epic performances.

So reserve a comfy chair and a cold one. Enjoy the show.

And pass the popcorn. 


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