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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Stats that matter: Texas vs. Oklahoma

By Carter Strickland

Numbers, it's said, rarely lie. With that thought in mind, HornsNation -- with a healthy assist from the ESPN Stats and Info crew -- will dig into the numbers each week and pull three stats that could play a significant role in the outcome of Texas' game. This week the focus is on the Red River Rivalry as Texas is headed to Dallas to take on Oklahoma.

1. 190
Damien Williams
Juco transfer Damien Williams is the Sooners' top tailback.
With all the talk about how well or poorly Landry Jones is or isn’t playing at quarterback for Oklahoma, one stat lost in the shuffle is that the Sooners are in the top four in rushing in the Big 12. Led by Damien Williams’ 85.3 yards per game, OU has piled up 190 rushing yards per game. Now while that is not quite the 300 per game Oklahoma State has averaged it still should be a concern for Texas given what the Longhorns have given up on defense as of late. After holding its first opponent to 69 rushing yards, Texas has allowed 211 rushing yards per game. In the last two games, Texas has allowed 199 yards rushing to OSU’s Joseph Randle and then 207 to West Virginia’s Andrew Buie. Even against Ole Miss Texas’s defense allowed a single back to victimize it. Jeff Scott had 95 yards on eight carries or 11.7 yards per carry.

Texas might get linebacker Jordan Hicks back this week. But Hicks was completely healthy when New Mexico ran for 206 against the Longhorns.

2. 8-0
Lending a little more importance to the previously mentioned rushing stat is this stat when it comes to rushing -- Under Bob Stoops, OU is 8-0 in the game when it wins the rushing battle. Texas is 4-0 when it wins the rushing battle. The teams finished with the same number of rushing yards in 2006 -- they netted 124 -- and Texas won that game.

Texas’ rush offense is statistically better than OU’s this year -- 209 yards to 190. But Texas was not successful with the run against the only other top-25 opponent it has played this year, West Virginia. The Mountaineers held Texas to 135 rushing yards. Texas also appears as if it will be without its top running back, Malcolm Brown. Brown suffered an ankle sprain against Oklahoma State.

3. 0-8
Texas has failed to win a game against an AP top 25 opponent since Nebraska in 2010. When this stat is thrown out Texas coach Mack Brown likes to point out that the coaches’ poll is the one used in the BCS formula and the coaches’ poll had Oklahoma State ranked No. 22 when Texas beat them 41-35 this season.

He may have a point, but it is still hard to ignore that Texas has been beaten by an average of two touchdowns per game against AP top 25 competition since that Nebraska game. Prior to the loss against WVU, turnovers seemed to be the most common thread in the losses. Texas had been minus-15 in the turnover battle before WVU. But the Longhorns won the turnover battle 2-1 against WVU. It marked the fist time in 57 games that Texas has won the turnover battle and lost the game.