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Three Key Players For Sooners Offense vs Longhorns

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

No matter the stakes and no matter the rankings, OU-Texas always delivers on the big stage. It's one of the most historic rivalries in all of college football and is still a must watch game this week despite Texas entering the contest with it's worst record ever coming into the game. It could very well be a Red River blowout, as it was from 2011-2013.

Baker Mayfield looks unstoppable and Texas seems to be falling apart on the field and off the field. But as we've seen the last four seasons, this game is usually unpredictable. So for the Sooners to turn this into a burnt orange bloodbath, it will require the offense to avoid a slow start and get things rolling in the first half.

A good performance from these players should turn this game into the blowout people are thinking it will be. If these players are shaky or let the new atmosphere get to them, it might be a closer game than people expected.

RB Samaje Perine - In Red River Rivalry games since Bob Stoops became a head coach, the team with the most rushing yards has lost only one time. That one time happened to be last season, when the Sooners won the game off special teams and defense. This year, the running game should be the most important factor once again in this series. That means Perine will have to have the best game he's had all season, since the Longhorns are currently averaging more rushing yards this season than Oklahoma. If Perine can break free for a couple of big plays early, then the Sooners should roll over Texas.

QB Baker Mayfield - This one may seem obvious, but the junior has yet to play in a rivalry game like this. The Austin native knows how big the game is, but it's a pretty big stage for a quarterback to play in. Quarterback's under Bob Stoops usually thrive in the Red River Rivalry, but the past two years haven't been the best for the man under center. Blake Bell struggled greatly in 2013 and Trevor Knight didn't make any major mistakes but wasn't really effective in last year's game. Mayfield has already proven to be better than both of those guys and this Texas defense isn't near as good as it was last year, so he should have a big day against the Longhorns.

RB Joe Mixon - The freshman running back has been excellent for Oklahoma's offense this far into the season and his performance in this game may have a bigger impact than Perine's. The Longhorn's rushing defense is ranked 108th in the country in yards allowed, so it wouldn't be a shock if Perine and Mixon had their fair share of big runs. When Oklahoma dominated Texas in 2011 and 2012, the OU running backs led the way for the offense. If Oklahoma wants a similar performance to that, then the running backs will have to once again lead the way.