Preview: Texas vs. Oklahoma (at Dallas)
by Dave Congrove
October 7, 2008
The 103rd edition of the Red River Rivalry pits the nos. 1 and 2 teams in the country against each other, and the winner will be declared a midseason favorite to play for the national championship in January.
In five of the last six seasons, the winner advanced to the Big 12 championship game. The Sooners have claimed 7 of the 12 meetings since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996, but Texas leads the series overall 57-40-5.
Both teams enter with 5-0 records and each has been obliterating its opponents by the exact same margin of 35.8 points. Texas has defeated FAU, UTEP, Rice, Arkansas and Colorado by an average score of 47.2 to 11.4. Oklahoma has ripped UT-Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Washington, TCU and Baylor by an average of 49.6 to 13.8.
In spite of the weak schedules, thus far, neither team is overly impressive in statistical rankings. Oklahoma ranks 5th in total offense while Texas checks in at no. 12. The Sooners are 11th in total defense while the Longhorns are 28th. Oklahoma ranks 4th in scoring, and Texas is 6th. The Longhorns are 4th in scoring defense and the Sooners are 15th.
Individually, however, each team boasts one of the nation's top quarterbacks. Texas' Colt McCoy ranks 4th in passing efficiency with a rating of 197.9. McCoy has completed 79.2 percent of his passes for 1,280 yards, 16 TD's and 3 INT's. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford ranks 2nd with a rating of 205.0. Bradford has completed 72.6 percent of his throws for 1,665 yards, 18 scoring strikes and 3 picks.
Seniors Quan Cosby and Jordan Shipley lead the Longhorn receiving corps. Cosby has 32 catches for 416 yards and 3 touchdowns. Shipley has 7 touchdowns on just 24 receptions and an average of 15.33 yards per catch.
Oklahoma has a trio of receivers with at least 4 TD's, more than 250 yards, and over 17 yards per catch. Freshman Ryan Broyles has 4 scores on only 13 catches and an average of 18 yards per reception. Seniors Manuel Johnson (26 receptions, 468 yards, 18.0 ypc) and Juaquin Iglesias (23 receptions, 401 yards, 17.43 ypc) each have 5 touchdowns.
Rushing is another story.
Oklahoma ranks 40th as a team, and leading rusher DeMarco Murray ranks 43rd individually with 431 yards.
Texas ranks 27th as a team, even though QB McCoy is the leading ground gainer with 317 yards. Redshirt freshman Cody Johnson and sophomore Vondrell McGee have a combined averaged of just 76 yards per game as the Longhorns don't have a running back among the top 100.
Don't be surprised to see Texas coach Mack Brown give 5th-year senior Chris Ogbonnaya more playing time after the game he had against Colorado in Saturday's 38-14 win. Ogbonnaya carried 9 times for 75 yards and a TD, and hauled in 6 passes for 116 yards. He had previously carried just seven times all season for a meager 22 yards.
Oklahoma and Texas have met seven times previously when the Sooners held the top AP ranking, and Oklahoma prevailed on all but one of those occasions. The lone exception occurred in 1963 when Texas was ranked no. 2 in the AP Poll and won 28-7.