Purple River Showdown: Storylines to look at in Oklahoma-Texas

Published:Mar 8, 202422:57
Purple River Showdown: Storylines to look at in Oklahoma-Texas

By Laken Litman
FOX Sports activities Faculty Soccer Author

Can final 12 months’s Purple River Showdown be topped?

In some unspecified time in the future, sure. This 12 months? Probably not.

Within the 2021 annual rivalry sport between two ranked groups on the Cotton Bowl, Texas scored 14 factors lower than two minutes into the sport. Then-quarterback Casey Thompson — who now begins for Nebraska — hit Xavier Worthy for a 75-yard landing on the very first play from scrimmage. On Oklahoma’s first drive, Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown blocked a punt on the Sooners’ 2-yard line. Two performs later, Bijan Robinson ran for a landing. The Longhorns took a 38-20 lead at halftime.

Oklahoma fought again and finally gained the sport, 55-48, on a 33-yard landing by Kennedy Brooks with three seconds left.

Flashback: Highlights from Oklahoma-Texas in 2021

Flashback: Highlights from Oklahoma-Texas in 2021

The Oklahoma Sooners upset the No. 22 Texas Longhorns in a four-OT thriller. Oklahoma’s Tre Brown picked off Sam Ehlinger to seal the victory for the Sooners.

It was utterly wild, and the best comeback within the rivalry’s historical past.

This season has a unique really feel. The 2 applications, each set to depart the Massive 12 for the SEC in simply a few years, head into Saturday with two losses apiece. It’s the primary time since 1998 that neither workforce on this matchup has been ranked. Since then, often, at the very least one workforce has been a nationwide title contender, and 4 instances this was a top-five matchup. 

Actually, the larger Massive 12 sport this weekend is No. 17 TCU at No. 19 Kansas, and kickoff is on the similar time. The truth is, 4 different Massive 12 groups are ranked within the AP Prime 25, together with No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 20 Kansas State.

None of this adjustments the truth that there's all the time a lot driving on this sport — bragging rights, convention standings, the Golden Hat trophy, the season. Final 12 months, the Longhorns have been 4-1 heading into Purple River. The loss to Oklahoma began a six-game shedding streak because the Longhorns skidded to a 5-7 end.

The Massive 12 is extensive open this 12 months, and it wouldn’t be farfetched to say {that a} multiple-loss workforce might win the convention. Whoever wins this sport, although, might have a leg up on the finish of the season. 

With that in thoughts, listed here are a few of the storylines forward of Saturday’s contest between historic rivals:

So, who’s beginning at QB?

Anticipate each coaches Steve Sarkisian and Brent Venables to maintain this near the vest all week. 

It’s not a secret that Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers would possibly play on Saturday. We haven’t seen him since he sprained his clavicle within the first quarter of the Alabama sport in Week 2, however there have been hints the previous two weeks that his return is imminent. Ewers has been dressed, obtainable and on the sideline for each the Texas Tech and West Virginia video games, however he hasn’t taken the sector but.

In the meantime, backup Hudson Card is coming off the perfect sport of his profession, going 21-for-27 for 303 yards and three touchdowns in final week’s win over the Mountaineers. Sarkisian informed reporters on Monday that they're the healthiest they’ve been on the place. So what does that imply? Who will begin? We don’t know, and that’s how Sarkisian likes it.

Oklahoma has quarterback well being points, too. Starter Dillon Gabriel left Saturday's surprising loss to TCU within the second quarter with a concussion after enduring a late hit. His standing is unclear, which implies inexperienced Pittsburgh switch Davis Beville might get his first profession begin.

Quinn Ewers goes down vs. Alabama

Quinn Ewers goes down vs. Alabama

Texas Longhorns QB Quinn Ewers fell awkwardly on his shoulder towards Alabama.

Venables' first Purple River Showdown as head coach

As if the quarterback state of affairs wasn’t offering sufficient stress, Venables, a confirmed defensive guru, has the worst protection within the Massive 12. That’s definitely not how he’d like to go into his first-ever Purple River Showdown as a head coach.

The unit wasn’t nice beneath Lincoln Riley and former defensive coordinator Alex Grinch both — they’re each at USC now — however the Sooners are both lifeless final or near it within the convention in some main classes: dashing protection (198.2 yards per sport), scoring protection (25.2 factors per sport) and whole protection (423 YPG). It has additionally allowed probably the most massive performs from scrimmage, together with 4 for greater than 60 yards, all of which got here final week within the TCU loss. The Sooners’ protection was completely uncovered in that sport, permitting the Horned Frogs 668 yards of whole offense.

Earlier than that crushing defeat got here the loss to Kansas State. Oklahoma went into that matchup because the No. 6 workforce within the nation after blowing previous Nebraska one week prior. The Wildcats beat OU 41-34. Heading into this Texas sport, the Sooners have allowed 96 factors and given up 1,177 whole yards — greater than 60% of a mile — in two video games. 

Purple River Showdown preview: Geoff Schwartz's keys to the video games | Quantity One Faculty Soccer Present

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FOX Sports activities’ RJ Younger is joined by Geoff Schwartz to preview the largest matchups in Week 6, together with the rivalry sport between Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns.

In the meantime, Texas’ offense …

… is clicking fairly properly in the intervening time. 

The Longhorns hung 446 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per play towards West Virginia. Robinson ran for greater than 100 yards for the third straight week, however it was the passing sport that was spectacular. 

Card, Ewers’ backup, handed for greater than 300 yards and three touchdowns. Worthy, who accomplished a 33-yard landing cross to tight finish Ja’Tavion Sanders, additionally racked up his first 100-yard efficiency of the season with 119 and two scores of his personal. Sanders had 5 catches for 78 yards and two touchdowns, and receiver Jordan Whittington had three catches for 58 yards. Texas was held to 10 factors within the second half for the second consecutive week however had constructed up sufficient offensive firepower early to maintain its lead intact. 

Why Oklahoma is in massive bother | Joel Klatt Present

Why Oklahoma is in big trouble | Joel Klatt Show

Joel Klatt mentioned the Oklahoma Sooners season and their tough 3-2 begin.

Sarkisian prides his offense on quick begins — that’s what occurred towards OU final 12 months. However for the Longhorns to get their first win over OU within the Sarkisian period — and first victory on this matchup since 2018 — they must begin and end sturdy.

Laken Litman covers faculty soccer, faculty basketball and soccer for FOX Sports activities. She beforehand wrote for Sports activities Illustrated, USA As we speak and The Indianapolis Star. She is the creator of "Sturdy Like a Girl," printed in spring 2022 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Title IX. Observe her on Twitter @LakenLitman.

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