When the Oklahoma Sooners and Texas Longhorns collide, the team able to produce on the ground traditionally wins the battle. This season, the Red River Shootout looks to continue that trend as both programs lean on the rushing attack in order to get the job done.
Oklahoma Keys To Victory
Run The Ball
Throughout the first five games of the season, the Sooners have racked up 208.6 yards on the ground per game and 5.4 yards per attempt (leads the Big XII). Without Keith Ford to turn to, freshman Samaje Perine burst onto the scene with a 242 yard rushing performance against WVU. Having a runningback with the ability to run between the tackles proves vital to the success of the season and Perine provides just that. If the coaching staff wants to avoid a repeat of last season, the offense must utilize an experienced offensive line and a physical runningback in tandem. Why? Texas currently gives up 199 yards on the ground per game.
When Oklahoma resorts to airing it out, the offense sputters out. Trevor Knight flashed his true potential late last year and remains a dual-threat quarterback while OC Josh Heupel continues to ask him to stand in the pocket. It quickly became apparent that accuracy remains an issue as Knight has just five touchdowns to five interceptions on the season. That's not to say Knight is unserviceable at the position. Rather it suggests that the kid's true ability lies in the zone read or QB draw.
The result should land close to 60/40 in terms of a rushing to passing ratio on Saturday.
Force Tyrone Swoopes To Beat You With His Arm
Texas quarterback, Tyrone Swoopes prepared for the season as the back-up until it was announced that David Ash was calling it quits due to concussion issues. Now thrust into the limelight, Swoopes has yet to eclipse the 250 yard mark through the air. Currently the highly sought after high school recruit puts up an average of 146.8 yards per game. Simply put, Swoopes does not look ready for the big stage with a five touchdown to three interception ratio on the year. This weekend, a first time starter in the RRS faces off with a speedy and athletic defense. Needless to say, the rivalry could make or break Swoopes.
Fans are well aware of the names Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown who were touted as possibly the best one-two punch in the conference. However, the offensive line has not provided enough daylight for these backs to run through. The potential to make the Longhorns one dimensional continues to persist. Swoopes needs a career day for UT to come out ahead.
Mix It Up
Over the past several years, fans have noticed a trend...predictability of play calling. Against TCU, the trend could not have been more obvious. For example, when Oklahoma inserted Blake Bell, the defense keyed in on the notion OU was likely throwing the ball. On the other hand, if Aaron Ripkowski entered the game, the Sooners were likely running the ball. It simply became a game of percentages and the Horned Frogs won out more often than not. In order to be successful not only on Saturday but for the remainder of the season, the offensive coordinator must get creative.