Matchups: Advantage OSU

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Quarterback: Oklahoma State has the definite edge in this game under center. Texas saw some improvement after switching to the two-quarterback system, but that system was abused last week by Oklahoma. David Ash threw two interceptions, and Case McCoy was sacked and fumbled twice, with one of each of those turnovers being returned for scores. Meanwhile, Brandon Weeden is averaging almost 380 yards per game through the air, and although he has thrown six interceptions this season, none of those have come in the last two games. He has completed 80 percent of his passes during the last two games and has completed 79 percent of his passes since the first game of the season, where he completed a paltry 61 percent.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

Running Back: Oklahoma State has a strong running game, but it is by no means a dominant attack. The Cowboys have been outrushed in each of their two conference games and were held to 46 yards rushing against Texas A&M. The strength of the Texas offense had been the rushing game going into last week’s butchering. Texas gained 153 yards rushing against the Sooners but lost 117 yards for a net total of only 36. The Cowboys will be looking to pass first, so most of their rushing yards will be supplemental, but Texas has to establish the run in order to have a chance to win the game. Texas has a little more talent at the position and will be relying on it to win.

Advantage: Texas

Wide Receiver: A week after facing one of the best receiver tandems in the conference, Texas will now face one of the best receivers in the nation. Justin Blackmon is the primary target on the Cowboys’ offense. He has caught for more than 100 yards in three games this season including receiving for 128 and 121 yards in tight games against Arizona and Texas A&M, respectively, and 13 percent of his catches have gone for touchdowns. Texas’ one consistent target this season has been true freshman Jaxon Shipley. Last week, he caught nine balls for 89 yards and the only offensive touchdown for the Longhorns. He is the only consistent target on the team with Mike Davis having an inexcusable turnover against Oklahoma. Blackmon alone gives the Cowboys the edge in this one, but Oklahoma State has had at least one 100-yard receiver in three games this season, and two against Texas A&M.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

Offensive Line: Last week, the Sooners spent as much time in the Texas backfield as the Longhorns did. The Texas offensive line gave up eight sacks against Oklahoma and an additional seven quarterback hurries. The Sooners turned all that pressure into four turnovers, and 117 yards for loss. Kansas was only able to get one sack, and one QB hurry on Weeden as he passed for almost 300 yards. The Cowboys averaged 3.9 yards per carry against Kansas and are only averaging 3.1 yards per carry over the last three games. If Texas is going to pull the upset this weekend, then the offensive line has to do a significantly better job than it did last week because the Oklahoma State line is going to give Weeden ample time to throw.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

Defensive Line: While Oklahoma was able to set up base camp in the Texas backfield, the Longhorn defensive line was not able to get any pressure on Landry Jones. It only recorded two hurries and one sack against Oklahoma. Oklahoma State’s line fared a little better against the Jayhawks, with 3.5 sacks and a hurry, but gave up 4.6 yards per carry to the Kansas running backs. The one bright spot from the Red River Rivalry was that Texas was able to limit Oklahoma to just 86 yards rushing and didn’t let through a lot of runs up the middle. Neither team will be taking in a dominant defensive line, but the Cowboys may have little more going for them in pass rushing, though Texas is a little better at defending the run.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

Linebackers: Texas’ linebackers were only able to muster up 13 tackles against Oklahoma, with most of the work being done by the defensive backs. The most troubling stat is that the linebackers combined for one quarterback hurry and no sacks. Most of the blitzes done by the linebackers got stopped at the line of scrimmage and could not apply pressure on the quarterback. Oklahoma State’s linebackers are solid but don’t make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage, nor do they account for a lot of sacks. They are a decent group but none of them are exceptional. A backup, Tyler Johnson, led the team in tackles last week with seven. Texas has more talent at the position but it has to start producing, especially on blitzes in order for the team to have success.

Advantage: Texas

Secondary: Texas’ secondary got torched by Landry Jones and the Oklahoma receivers, but some of that may be on a defensive front seven that was not able to get any pressure on Jones. But the defensive backs were only able to get their hands on three balls for pass breakups and no interceptions. They made a lot of tackles, but there were too many instances of Oklahoma receivers running open down the field and too many poor angles taken by the entire backfield. The Cowboy’s secondary has picked off 10 passes this season, with most of those coming in the last three games, including three in the comeback win against Texas A&M. Texas’ corners are young, but talented, but the OSU defensive backs have a lot more experience, and have been more consistent at getting their hands on passes.

Advantage: Oklahoma State

Special Teams: Texas hasn’t gotten much out of its punt return units this season, but its kick return game came alive against the Sooners. Texas racked up 248 return yards on nine returns averaging more than 27 yards per return. Fozzy Whitaker had a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown, and D.J. Monroe had a 90-yard kick returned called back on a penalty that would have given the Longhorns more than 330 yards on kick returns for the day. Oklahoma State averaged 18.5 yards per return on four kicks, and was a perfect 10-10 on PAT’s against Kansas. If the game is close, Texas’ newfound advantage in special teams could mean the difference in this game.

Advantage: Texas