Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns may be 2-0 in the Big 12, but they can hardly breathe easy with their biggest test yet on Saturday.
One of the ultimate barometers to a Texas football season is its annual matchup with Oklahoma. And lately, it's been all Sooners in the Red River Rivalry.
Bob Stoops' Sooners have allowed just 281 yards per game, good for ninth in the FBS. And with a well-run offense behind quarterback Blake Bell, the Sooners are the heavy favorites.
Texas loves its tempo, but if its defense continues to get pounded by any ground game featuring a running threat at quarterback, the Longhorns may have to consider slowing things down to manage the game more effectively.
But is it realistic for a Texas win?
Texas is at its best when it is going fast.
That is what the Longhorns prepared to do during the spring, summer and fall, and to change a philosophy before a big game cannot be the best idea to promote a win.
The Longhorns will want to force matchup issues with its skill players, and that is where the tempo works in favor of the 'Horns.
It helps to have big-play threats like Daje Johnson and Mike Davis, but the truth is that Texas has looked to showcase its speed, but injuries have held its offense in check.
With quarterback David Ash not even making the trip, Case McCoy should favor a game-plan that can keep the Sooners somewhat off-balance.
The Texas offense will need every advantage it can get.
Key Blow for Bob Stoops
Oklahoma linebacker Corey Nelson will miss the rest of the season, and his absence will provide an interesting matchup for Texas' diverse backfield, which will include Johnson on Saturday.
With the way Oklahoma's secondary has been defending the pass, it will be even more critical for Texas to establish its ground game.
It just would not make sense to shy away from a running attack that can open up the rest of the offense, as limited as it will be with McCoy under center.
Time and Place
Texas' offense has big-play potential, but if its defense struggles against the Sooners, look for the Longhorns to pick their spots to sustain longer drives. Sometimes, the best defense is a good offense, and while Texas is a marginally good offense, it will have to prove efficient and composed throughout the 60-minute stretch.
The Sooners boast the FBS' 17th-ranked rushing offense, picking up 246 yards per game. The Texas defense will be battered and beaten by the time the fourth quarter rolls around.
The 'Horns will need their running game and good management from their senior quarterback.
*Stats for Blake Bell are courtesy of ESPN.com.