Five things: Oklahoma vs. Texas
October, 12, 2013
By Brandon Chatmon | ESPN.com
Here’s what we’ll be watching when Oklahoma and Texas battle in the Red River Rivalry at 11 a.m. CT at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.
Replacing Corey Nelson: It’s been a disappointing end to his senior season for the Dallas native. Nelson, a linebacker, will miss the remainder of the season with a pectoral injury that will need surgery, but Dominique Alexander, a freshman from Tulsa, Okla., has played well in spot duty for the Sooners. OU is confident the youngster will play well today, but there’s no question he will be wide-eyed early and the Longhorns will probably try to expose him as much as they can with a quality group of running backs led by Johnathan Gray.
Quarterback Blake Bell's first RRR start: The junior has had a bunch of success in the Red River Rivalry, scoring four rushing touchdowns in the Sooners' 63-21 win in 2012. Yet he’s never been the trigger man of OU’s offense at the Cotton Bowl. Bell had a subpar game against TCU with 152 passing yards, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to his worst production of the season.
AP Photo/Aaron M. SprecherTrey Millard's leap over Adrian Phillips in last year's Sooners rout is the latest legendary play in Red River Rivalry lore.
OU running game: The Sooners have dominated on the ground, and thus the scoreboard, during the past two seasons. OU averaged 6.1 yards per rush and scored seven touchdowns on the ground in its back-to-back blowout wins and will be looking to match its season average of 246 rushing yards per game against the Longhorns. Frankly, the Sooners might not need much from Bell if they can get running backs Brennan Clay and Damien Williams unleashed in the open field against UT.
OU's aggressive defense: Turnovers have helped spark the Sooners’ three-game win streak, with the Sooners owning a plus-8 turnover margin against Texas and scoring 44 points off Longhorns turnovers. Don’t be surprised if that trend continues on Saturday, as defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has been more aggressive this season and the Sooners defense features a faster, more versatile unit. This season's Sooners have a turnover margin of plus-3 and have not allowed a point off of a turnover, so don't be surprised if they find a way to make turnovers a key in this game as well.
Big play battle: The Red River Rivalry is known for the big plays that make legends of its participants. Roy Williams’ Superman leap, Trey Millard's stiff-arm hurdle and Williams’ 95-yard scoring gallop immediately come to mind. Who will make a big play that will be remembered in this year’s edition?
Top Returning Players: Big 12
BIG 12 SCOREBOARD
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35