College Football

Oklahoma State At Texas Preview: Signs Of Life From Texas’ Offense Makes This Interesting

Charlie Strong's Team Can Make A Statement

I’m one of the few Nebraska fans who’ve stopped enjoying this span of years in
which Texas has been terrible. Honestly, it stopped being funny to me when Mack
Brown left and Charlie Strong was asked to come in and pick up the pieces of a
shattered program, with the hopes of returning the school to its former football
glory. Don’t get me wrong, I want to hate the Longhorns, but I don’t hate a terrible
Texas team that can’t move the ball on offense and barely qualifies for bowl games,
partly because Texas fans aren’t talking about how their team is the greatest when it
clearly isn’t anymore, and thus don’t give me a clear reason to dislike everything
about the program. Plus, I like Charlie Strong and admire what he’s done so far at
the program, so forgive me for not sharing the hatred for the program that a lot of
people seem to be holding onto.

In order for me to really hate Texas again, they need an offense that can move the
ball and put up points on, I don’t know, literally anyone. But they finally showed
signs of life against Cal, which is a good start. But Saturday they host Oklahoma
State, a team that ranks 26th in total defense, allowing just over 300 total yards per
game. This doesn’t bode well for an offense that is only averaging slightly over 360
total yards a game, and combined with Oklahoma State’s offense that averages more
than 40 points/500 yards per game and has only turned the ball over twice so far
this season, it has the potential to turn into an ugly game for Texas. But it also has
the potential to be a big, big win for the Longhorns, or at least a sign that things in Austin
are improving.

Don’t Get Me Wrong, This Will Be A Hard Game For Texas

I’m by no means suggesting that Texas is going to outright beat Oklahoma State. The
Longhorns would need a performance from freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard
that resembles last week’s, in which he accounted for 527 of the Longhorns 605
total yards, 163 of them coming on the ground. He’ll have to do so against a much
better defense than Cal‘s though, and expecting this out of a young quarterback
making the third start of his career is a big ask, but it’s exactly what the Longhorns
will need if they want to make this game winnable. Oklahoma State is definitely
going to get their points, and it’s up to a Texas offense that seems like it’s finally
figuring things out to keep up.

Texas’ Defense Is Pretty Solid, But State’s Is Clearly Superior

It’s easy to look at the Longhorn’s total defensive numbers, which ranks them 199th
in the country, and pretend that Oklahoma State will run wild on this team. But the
truth is, two of their three games came against really, really good offenses in Notre
Dame and Cal. While the Cowboy’s offensive output is slightly above the Fighting
Irish’s, it comes as a byproduct of playing lesser competition. That, coupled with the
fact that Notre Dame lost starting quarterback Malik Zaire the game after the season
opener to injury makes me less impressed with State’s offense than I probably
should be. But Texas will still have to keep up with them much like they did Cal’s,
and like I said, Cal’s is a far cry from what Oklahoma State will bring to the field this
weekend. They bring in a strong pass rush led by junior end Emmanuel Ogbah, and
a secondary that returned a lot of young players from last year. The Cowboys are
beatable through the air more so than the ground, but Heard is going to have to do
both against the best defensive unit he’s seen up tot his point.

Oklahoma State Should Dominate, But If They Don’t, It’s A Win For Texas

Moral victories are always a hard pill to swallow, and a lot of people justifiably don’t
believe in them. But if Texas can put together a complete game against Oklahoma
State on Saturday, it might not matter which side of the final score they’re on. This is
a chance for the Longhorns to show that they’re improving, and can hang with
tougher competition, and given that it’s in Austin, they could capitalize on late game
momentum if it remains close the whole way through. That said, the Cowboys
should put on a show on both ends of the ball if you go strictly by the numbers, and
doing so against Texas on their own turf could get them a lot of attention that they
might already deserve.

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