Red River Shootout
By Douglas Kroll
For the first time since 1999, No. 14 Oklahoma (3-1) and No. 7 Texas (4-1) each enter the Red River Rivalry with one loss. In each of the last few seasons, the game played at the Cotton Bowl has seemed to have a say in who gets to the National Championship game, but this season, that may not be the case.
Texas lost at home to Ohio State earlier this season, while the Sooners lost a game that many felt should have been theirs to win, 34-33 at Oregon. After that devastating defeat to the Ducks, Oklahoma went on to beat up on Middle Tennessee State 59-0, out gaining their opponent 462-95 in total offense. The Sooners then had a bye week in preparation for Saturdays match-up.
Last years game in Dallas, saw Texas snap a five game losing streak to the Sooners, as they ran away with a 45-12 victory. There will be two differences between the game this year, and the one in 05. Texas doesnt have Vince Young, and Oklahoma DOES have a healthy Adrian Peterson. Oklahomas star running back, and Heisman Trophy candidate missed most of last seasons battle with an ankle injury, which limited him to three carries for 10 yards.
Young, meanwhile, threw a 64-yard touchdown pass with 17 seconds left in the first half last season against OU that put the game away. With no Young under center, his understudy has done a pretty admirable job thus far. Colt McCoy is completing 71 percent of his passes, which is the second highest in the nation, and has thrown 10 touchdown passes, while only tossing two interceptions.
McCoys favorite receiver in his first collegiate season has been Limas Sweed, who leads the team with 19 catches for 340 yards. On the ground, running back Jamaal Charles has only rushed for just about half as many yards that Oklahoma RB Adrian Peterson has run for, but Charles is averaging just over six yards per carry in the process.
After missing most of last years contest, Peterson will look to make an impact in this heated rivalry, while he currently ranks third in the nation with 160 yards per game. In Oklahomas 2004 win over Texas, Peterson ran 32 times for 225 yards. Quarterback Paul Thompson, who came to OU as a QB then went to WR and now hes back as the starting quarterback, has racked up 930 yards through the air and thrown eight touchdowns while only throwing three INTs.
All week, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops downplayed the Heisman talk for his junior running back, saying that they havent played a Big 12 game yet. With a big game this week in a huge rivalry game against, of course, a Big 12 team, Peterson can certainly vault himself right onto the Heisman short list.
Douglas Kroll is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.