The biggest game of the year is here between 4-1 Texas and 5-0 Oklahoma. The IT staff gives predictions, analyzes what needs to happen for Texas to win, and gives a favorite memory from the rivalry.
1. How does Texas regain the Golden Hat?
Justin Wells – By bringing hat all day. Hit them hard, hit them fast. Get to Kyler Murray. Control the ball on offense. And realize this isn’t a football. It’s a street fight.
Eric Nahlin – Through a mix of blitzes and coverages that keep Lincoln Riley and Kyler Murray off schedule. Bend but don’t break is perfectly fine. Tighten up inside the 20 and hold them to field goals. On offense work the perimeter in both the run and pass game. Texas needs to win even number situations. Get to the second level and out-physical OU. This should be a game where tough YAC and leaky yardage is available. Run Ehlinger and Ingram like the workhorses they are.
Ian Boyd – Much like in the TCU game, the narrative after this battle needs to flip from being about Oklahoma’s offensive speed to the speed of the Longhorn defense. Flood the field with athletes and restrict the space Kyler Murray and co. are accustomed to having. On offense the Longhorns need to play their A game and come in aggressive, looking to attack and wear down a vulnerable unit rather than trying to play it safe.
Joe Cook – Win the game in the trenches, don’t get beat deep by Marquise Brown. I think it’s that simple. If Texas can get a push up front, this is a defense with plenty of structural issues as Ian has laid out. Marquise Brown is as electric as they come, and as fast as they come. The safeties will have to keep an eye on him for much of the game because there’s no doubt he’ll beat whoever’s covering him a few times in this game.
Scipio Tex – On offense, exploit OU’s lack of physicality on the back end of their defense and test Mike Stoops’ assignment discipline. On defense, the Horns need to play the run situationally and try to flood the field with DBs whenever possible.
2. Most important players on offense and defense
Justin Wells – On Offense; Keaontay Ingram. If he gets 22+ touches, Texas should win. On Defense; Omenihu and Hager. If those two can hot Murray, Texas should win.
Eric Nahlin – Keaontay Ingram on offense. He’s merely freshman but he can pull it off the lead-dog role. On defense, I have to go with Sterns patrolling the back-end as a help defender as well as playing the run. Murray has only been picked off twice. Let’s double that today.
Ian Boyd – On offense it might be Keaontay Ingram, if Texas can get him 20 touches or so as a runner or receiver they can overload OUs star linebacker Kenneth Murray and expose the rest of the Sooner D. For the Longhorn D this is a Breckyn Hager game. Texas needs to play small in the back and still out muscle the Sooners up front while collapsing the world around Murray, that’ll be a group effort but Hager and Charles Omenihu will spear head things.
Joe Cook – Ehlinger. Continue to play efficient and not turn the ball over. On defense, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one person. They’re all going to need to play a Coach V B+ game at the minimum to win this one. All of them.
Scipio Tex – Ehlinger, LJH, CJ. There’s a path to them controlling this game with their physicality, size and toughness. Defensively, Texas needs an inspired, composed performance from Kris Boyd, reliable tackling from Brandon Jones in run support and pressure when it matters from Hager and Omenihu.
3. Score prediction
Justin Wells – OU 33, Texas 30
Eric Nahlin – 35-31, Texas.
Ian Boyd – Texas 37, Oklahoma 33
Joe Cook – Oklahoma 42, Texas 28
Scipio Tex – Oklahoma 31, Texas 27
4. Favorite OU game or memory
Justin Wells – 2005 was fun because the demons were exercised, but 2008 is the second greatest football game I’ve ever attended.
Eric Nahlin – 45-35 in ‘08. Watching with a giant group of friends at a bar in Houston, already feeling down, until Jordan Shipley was shot out of a cannon. Game on.
Ian Boyd – For the first 6 years of my life as a young Longhorn fan in North Austin I never saw Texas beat the Sooners. It was a pair of non-defensive touchdowns that really stood out in exercising those demons, the sack strip of Rhett Bomar by Brian Robison and subsequent return by Rod Wright in 05, and then the kick return by Jordan Shipley that turned the tide in 08.
Joe Cook – When you stay at the hotel with the rest of your fraternity, there’s always that risk that someone is going to miss the 9 AM bus and either not be able to make the game, or have to get an expensive Uber from wherever you’re staying to the fair. In 2013, I set about 10 alarms, but the person I was rooming with didn’t budge for any of them. His loss, he had to eat $125 and miss Case McCoy’s finest hour. (45-12 was also really fun).
Scipio Tex – Too many to list. This one is underrated.
5. Upset pick of the week
Justin Wells – Maybe it’s Texas.
Eric Nahlin – Texas. I don’t even know the rest of the schedule this week. Nothing else matters.
Ian Boyd – Texas
Joe Cook – Florida over LSU straight up.
Scipio Tex – Kentucky +6 over Texas A&M