No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 21 Texas meet for the 117th time on Saturday in the annual Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas as a new chapter will be added to one of the game’s most storied rivalries Saturday. The Sooners have not necessarily lived up to the hype with which they entered the 2021 season, but they have survived all five matchups to this point. Texas represents Oklahoma’s first test against a ranked opponent.
The Longhorns suffered a crushing loss to No. 13 Arkansas in Week 2, but Steve Sarkisian’s squad has rebounded with three straight wins since Casey Thompson took over at quarterback. Texas is fresh off its first victory over TCU in Fort Worth since 2013. The Longhorns are searching for their first trip back to the Big 12 Championship Game since 2018 in Sarkisian’s first season.
Texas holds a 62-49-5 advantage all-time in the rivalry, but the Sooners have won five of the last six, including a victory in the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game. Quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for 209 yards and three touchdowns in a 53-45 four-overtime victory in the 2020 matchup. Follow LIVE coverage of Texas vs. Oklahoma here on CBSSports.com.
Texas vs. Oklahoma: Need to know
Finding a way to win: While Oklahoma has not put together many complete games this season, the Sooners are quietly in the midst of their longest winning streak in four years. In fact, Oklahoma’s 13-game winning streak trails only Alabama for the longest streak in college football. The Sooners put together a 14-game winning streak between the 2016 and 2017 seasons that ended with Oklahoma one snap away from the national title game. Since that team, Lincoln Riley’s Sooners have been fighting to get back to college football’s top level. A showcase game against Texas would be the perfect time to make a statement.
Bijan show: Texas running back Bijan Robinson has been perhaps the best running back in America through five games. The Arizona native has rushed for 100 yards in four of five games and cleared 200 yards for the first time against TCU. Despite toting the rock 35 times, Robinson responded with the biggest play of the game in the 58th minute by converting a third-and-6 with a physical second effort to clinch victory. His output will have to be comparably strong against a Sooners team that ranks No. 7 in rushing defense and holds opposing rushers to 2.6 yards per carry.
Oklahoma’s struggling offense: The Sooners have ranked among America’s top offenses since Riley took over the program, but Oklahoma has struggled to replicate those results in 2021. This is the first offense in Norman to rank outside the top 40 since 2013, two years before Riley arrived. Notably, Oklahoma has been hesitant to run the ball with only two scholarship running backs on the roster. Starters Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray have combined for just 103 total carries through five games, and teams are making the Sooners pay by dropping safeties and forcing Rattler to beat them underneath. Without explosive plays, this offense isn’t as dangerous. Will Riley unload against Texas?
How to watch Texas vs. Oklahoma live
Date: Saturday, Oct. 9 | Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Cotton Bowl — Dallas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Texas vs. Oklahoma prediction, picks
It’s hard to know which version of each team we’ll get in the Red River Showdown. Is Texas the team that dropped 70 points on Texas Tech or the one that struggled against a comparable TCU squad? Is Oklahoma playing its cards close to the vest or is it systemically flawed on offense? My money is on Riley unleashing the running backs against Oklahoma’s first ranked opponent of the season and the defense taking advantage of a UT offense that is still finding its footing. Prediction: Oklahoma (-3)
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