To say that the Longhorns have struggled on offense this season wouldn't be an understatement at all. The Longhorns are ninth in the Big 12 in scoring (18.4), rushing (134.4), and passing (184.8). What this means for Oklahoma's defense is that a sound game plan of fundamental football should be more than adequate to get the job done. It won't be a complicated game plan that Mike Stoops rolls out for his fellas on Saturday morning. If Oklahoma can focus on four key defensive areas then they'll put the offense in position to win the game.
Stop the run. Much like Oklahoma, the running game has been the most consistently productive aspect of the Texas offense. If the Sooners can put Texas in third and long situations by stuffing the run on first and second down then they'll be sitting pretty. Of course this goes in the easier said than done category as the Longhorns have a rejuvenated and healthy Jonathan Gray who is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. It'll be on the shoulders of Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans to keep Gray below that number.
Oklahoma wants to do to Texas the exact same thing the Longhorns are going to try to do to the Sooners. Stop the run and force the quarterback to make plays in order to win the game. This will be the battle within the battle for the two teams.
Pressure Swoops. Tyrone Swoopes may have a ton of potential but he was thrown into a tough situation a bit before he was ready. The sophomore quarterback has completed 59.4% of his passes for 734 yards and has 5 touchdowns to 3 interceptions. The Sooners want the ball in his hands and they want to force him to make a quick decision. The defense will want to keep him uncomfortable and have him hearing footsteps all day long. Obviously they'll need a different plan than the one they led with against TCU last week.
This is a game where a turnover could easily beat you and forcing an inexperienced quarterback to making quick decisions throwing the ball in a huge game is a great way to force turnovers. Texas is going to try it with their defense and the Sooners need to do the same.
Run tight coverage. The secondary is coming off a rough performance in Ft. Worth last week and they must rebound quickly. Giving up a big play is a show-stopper in this game and it'll be on the secondary prevent that from happening. Tight coverage will force Swoopes to try and hit a narrow window or hold the ball just a second longer. Either one of those could benefit the defense. \
Hit and wrap! This has been one of the most frustrating aspects of watching the defense recently. These are some guys who like the big hit (don't we all) but it seems like they're going for that more often than they are wrapping up and bringing the ball carrier to the ground. Missed tackles are too painful to watch.
We've learned over the years that anything can happen in this game and this year is no exception. Oklahoma's chances to win are vastly improved when they're playing from ahead rather than behind. Oklahoma will feel pressure from both sides of the ball to make this a reality and the defense playing fundamentally sound betters the chances for OU to keep Texas off the board. The Longhorns aren't prolific on offense but they sure can be opportunistic, especially against a defense that has breakdowns in coverage and can't wrap up.