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One of the best college football moments of the year is here, as the Texas Longhorns will host the Oklahoma Sooners for the Red River Shootout. When these two teams met last year it was an instant-classic game, where Texas beat Oklahoma 45-42 to hand the Sooners their only loss of the regular season. Oddsmakers have the Sooners as a double-digit favorite for this one, which will be nationally televised on FOX.
Oklahoma has changed quarterbacks once again, and it still doesn't matter. The Sooners haven't missed a beat with Jalen Hurts replacing Kyler Murray, and they enter this one undefeated at 5-0 and ranked #6 in the latest AP poll. Head coach Lincoln Riley has built an offensive juggernaut in Norman, and it seemingly doesn't matter who is under center for him.
Texas has also been having a pretty successful season, entering this one at #11 and with a 4-1 record. Their lone loss came in a close game against LSU, one of the best teams in the nation. Oddsmakers have them as a massive underdog here, which will surely rile up Tom Herman's squad. Sam Ehlinger will need to bring his A-game here if they're going to pull off another upset.
Hurts for Heisman?What more can you say about Lincoln Riley at this point? The young Oklahoma coach has proven that he's the best offensive mind in the game, and it seemingly doesn't matter who he has at quarterback. He's produced two straight Heisman winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, and it looks like he might do it a third time with Jalen Hurts.
His offenses never miss a beat, and they've been a juggernaut once again in 2019. They're 5-0, and they've scored at least 45 points in all five games. Hurts, the Alabama transfer, is averaging an absurd 14.0 YPA, and nobody can slow down this passing attack. This is a great matchup for them, since Texas' weakness is their secondary. The Longhorns rank 126th out of 130 FBS teams in passing yards per game allowed, so I think Hurts should have plenty of success here. Oklahoma almost had an undefeated regular season last year, but Texas ruined it for them by handing them their one loss.
Despite growing up in Houston, Jalen Hurts has never been to a Texas-OU rivalry game.— Jake García (@Jake_M_Garcia) October 5, 2019
"So this will be all new to you?"
"I've played in big games before. I think I'll be alright." pic.twitter.com/g1uPAH47eG
This will be a revenge game for the Sooners, so expect them to come out fired up. The question mark for these Oklahoma teams is always the defense, and the unit looks improved under their new defensive coordinator this year. They've only given up more than 20 points in one of their five games, which is a pretty big accomplishment for a Big 12 team. Even if Hurts were to have an off game it wouldn't hinder them too much, as they average a robust 7.8 yards per rush attempt.
Can Texas Do It Again?Texas managed to pull off the upset in the Red River Shootout last year, can they do it again in 2019? Tom Herman has done a great job improving Texas' national image and making them relevant again since taking over the job, but are they truly 'back'? That's yet to be determined, but a win here would pretty much make that a solid 'yes.' Texas is 4-1 and ranked #11 in the country, but they haven't done anything particularly impressive yet. In their one real test, they lost to LSU convincingly at home. The best team they've beaten has been Oklahoma State, and they only won that game by six points and nearly lost.
Texas has also had some brutal injury luck this year, particularly in their secondary. They've had a lot of cornerbacks go down, which has led to a ton of inexperienced players playing in the secondary. That's a recipe for disaster against this Oklahoma team, and the offense will need to pick up the slack. Texas let Joe Burrow throw for 471 yards in their loss to LSU, and Hurts will likely shred them here. As such, their only chance is to turn this one into a shootout, and junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger will need to come up big. The running game is pretty mediocre, only averaging 4.5 yards per attempt, so it all falls to Ehlinger for their offense. Ehlinger still struggles with consistency at times, and I'm not expecting anything crazy from him here.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- 3-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I think the Sooners easily win this one by multiple scores. Riley is so good that it doesn't matter he's changed quarterbacks yet again and Hurts is playing out of his mind right now. This Texas secondary is a sieve and Hurts should be picking it apart all day long. Texas is really banged up at the moment, and they've played a very soft schedule outside of their loss to LSU. Beating West Virginia on the road is not as big as an accomplishment as it used to be. Take the Sooners.
Full-Game Total Pick
The over also makes a lot of sense. Hurts is averaging an insane 14.0 yards per attempt this season, and he's going to be a nightmare for this inexperienced Texas secondary. Oklahoma will get up big early on, and Texas will have no choice but to air it out to try and catch up which will keep the clock stopped. This game ended 48-45 last year, and I think we see a similar amount of points this time around.