True freshman Sam Bradford is the Sooners version of Colt Mccoy from last year. So far in the first five games Bradford has tossed 15 tds to just 4 interceptions. The Oklahoma offense is capable of big pass plays, but with Bradford they seem to prefer the short passing game a little more. Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias are two very talented receivers that are going up against a young defensive secondary that has gotten a little better as the season has gone on. If the Texas secondary is able to keep the big pass plays from connecting, then it would play into the strength of the 4-3 Texas runs. Anyone can say what they want about OU and their soft schedule going into the Colorado game last week, but they put up amazing numbers, which is what big schools should do against "cupcakes."
The Sooner defense ahs played exceptionally well coming into this game as well, and before anyone tries to say anything about the collapse in Boulder, let me say this: it was a fluke, much like the Florida defense in the 3rd quarter against Ole Miss. Unfortunately for OU, it was in the 4th where they did not have another chance to right the wrong. I am not a Sooner fan by any stretch, and I know this sounds like I sympathize for them, but I am just being realistic. Heading into the Colorado game OU's only bad defensive performance was against Tulsa, who is 3rd overall in total yards and were held to almost 200 yards less than their average. Not to mention that OU countered the 21 points of Tulsa with 62 of their own. Bottom line, if the Sooners have a 17 point lead going into the 4th against Texas, they WILL NOT lose it.
The Texas offense has struggled to find its rhythm so far this year, and last week against Kansas State was no exception. The Longhorns countered K-State's impressive opening drive with a touchdown of their own, but were only able to manage 7 more points before the half. That is what two int's (1 returned for a td), and special teams allowing a kickoff to be returned will get you. Jamaal Charles has averaged over 100 yards a game, but was held under 100 for the second straight game this season, against K-State. As well as Charles has done overall, it should be noted that against teams that have not had the talent or speed on defense that he will see Saturday, he has had at least 5 fumbles that have been lost this season.
As for the Longhorn defense, this is a group that I felt had gotten stronger each week, except against UCF. Even in the loss against K-State last week, the Texas defense was only really responsible for 10 of the 41 points. Again, look for the front seven to shut down the rushing and limit the short passes from turning into big plays. If the secondary, like any group of defensive backs in the country, can just keep the deep threats in front of them the Texas defense should be able to prevail.
These two teams since 2000 have a combined record of 162-30 (UT 79-15, OU 83-15), 2 national championships (UT 2005, OU 2000), two more national title appearances (OU 2003 and 2004), ranked in the top-20 (USA OU #10, UT #16), and meet in somewhat of a pedestrian game with major bragging rights on the line.
Prediction: 30-27, in the closet game since 1997 when the game REALLY did not matter....................................
TEXAS (my bias probably gets the best of me here)