The Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns played an incredible game earlier this season, with the Longhorns pulling off a last-second upset of a Sooners team that was thought to be nearly unbeatable at the time.
Now the two teams will square off with the Big 12 championship on the line, and a potential place in the College Football Playoff for Oklahoma hanging in the balance as well.
Oklahoma is an eight-point favorite at BetOnline heading into this rematch of one of the most exciting games of the 2018 college football season.
Oklahoma’s 50.3 points scored per game puts them at the top of college football in scoring this season. Kyler Murray has been the engine of their offense, with his ability to both pass and run making him extremely difficult to defend for almost any team. But Texas’ defense is way better than most defenses, and the Longhorns might just have what it takes to lock him down.
Their 319.4 passing yards per game are good for eighth in college football, while their 264.3 rushing yards per game put them in the same place on the ground for the season. Those numbers look better than they are, given that the Big 12 plays defense collectively to where NBA scores are common. Texas’ defense doesn’t usually give up point totals as high, so the yardage for the Sooners could decline here.
Murray has completed over 70% of his passes this season, and that isn’t even his most impressive stat on the year. Murray is averaging 12.01 yards per pass attempt this season, which shouldn’t even be possible. Whenever he throws a football, he averages a first down with room to spare.
SXSW 2019 Oklahoma gives up 32.8 points per game to their opponents, which puts them in 100th in the country in scoring defense. They were destroyed defensively by Texas in the first meeting between these teams this season, and the Sooners haven’t exactly shown the ability to improve on that side of the ball.
The Sooners have already lost to their rivals once this season, and can’t afford to do so again if they want to end up in the College Football Playoff. This is, without exaggeration, an elimination game for Lincoln Riley’s team, and you should expect them to play with all of the urgency that entails.
Texas Big 12 Championship Analysis
Texas averages 31.7 points per game on offense, which is good for 46th in the country. They are far from one of the best offensive teams in the country, but have shown the ability to score in bunches when necessary, including their game against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry matchup this year.
South by southwest 2019 The Longhorns are 85th in the country in rushing yardage, averaging 156.4 yards per game on the ground. They are 38th in the country in passing yardage, moving the ball for 257.8 yards per game through the air. But the Longhorns put up over 500 yards of total offense on the Sooners earlier this year, and there is no reason to think that they can’t do it again.
Sam Ehlinger has come on and played well this season after struggling last year, with over 2,700 passing yards to his name for the season. Ehlinger averages 7.6 yards per pass attempt which, while it isn’t Kyler Murray’s video game numbers, is still a solid showing. And given that the Longhorns have averaged under four yards per carry as a team, Ehlinger’s impact has been massive on an offense that has needed the boost.
On defense, Texas’ 25.2 points allowed per game are good for 51st in the nation. They gave up 45 points to the Sooners last meeting, though, which could spell trouble for them this time around. It will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments Tom Herman makes heading into this game to fix Texas’ shortcomings in the last one.
This is the biggest game in Herman’s coaching career. He’ll either rise to the occasion or get out-coached by Riley, who has coached in the playoff last year even if it didn’t go the way the Sooners had hoped when they blew a lead to Georgia.
Texas has already proven that they can beat Oklahoma this season, and the question now is whether or not they can do it again. The College Football Playoff is more or less out of the question at this point, but a New Year’s Six bowl game is certainly possible if they can win convincingly here.
Texas vs Oklahoma Trends
Oklahoma comes into this Red River rematch at 11-1 straight up on the season and 4-7-1 against the spread. The Sooners have failed to cover the spread in their last four games, going 0-3-1 against the number over their last four contests. They have struggled in neutral site games as well, going 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 games on neutral fields, including their loss to the Longhorns this year.
Texas enters the biggest game in their recent program history at 9-3 straight up on the season and 5-6-1 against the spread. The Longhorns are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games held at neutral fields. They are also 13-5-2 against the spread in their last 20 games against teams with winning records, with one of those wins against the spread coming as an underdog earlier this season in their outright win over Oklahoma.
Texas is one of the better defensive teams in the country, which makes them the ‘85 Bears by the standards of the Big 12. They’ll have a hard time stopping the Sooners, as every team does, but they should be able to put up enough points to make up the difference against one of the weakest defenses in all of college football.
Take the Horns here to keep the Big 12 title game within reach and cover the spread, as this game should come down to the wire.
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