Texas vs Oklahoma State: Week 7 Preview

Texas Oklahoma State

Game #7 will feature the #12 ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys traveling to face the shell-shocked #25 Texas Longhorns in Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. This game provides Steve Sarkisian’s Longhorns with a great opportunity to bounce back from the heartbreaker against Oklahoma last week. Conversely, Oklahoma State is looking for a signature win to boost their own Big XII title odds.

Last Week in Review

Texas looked the part of a title contender for the first three quarters of the Red River Rivalry. However, they were unable to make enough plays on the defensive side of the ball to come away with the win. The offense comes into this game ranking fifth in the nation with 44.5 points a game, and 17th in yards a game at 480 yards per contest. Casey Thompson was efficient, as he has been all season. Bijan was a workhorse until field position and time limited his touches, and Xavier Worthy introduced himself to the nation with 9 catches for 261 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The defense bent (and eventually broke) against the Sooners and now ranks 107th in the nation giving up 441 yards per contest. This group will need to improve vastly down the stretch to get to Arlington, TX later this season.

This is not your father’s (more like your older brother’s) Oklahoma State team. This team will not remind you of the wide-open offenses led by Brandon Weeden or Mason Rudolph. They enter this game with wins over Missouri State, Tulsa, at Boise State, Kansas State and Baylor. However, despite the less than daunting schedule they are only winning games by an average of 6.4 points a game.

What Texas can expect from Oklahoma State

The Cowboys feature a relativity balanced offense averaging 219.2 passing yards a game and 161.6 yards a game on the ground. Oklahoma State is not going to remind anyone of the 2019 LSU Tigers averaging a pedestrian 25.4 points a game, which is good for 89th in nation. The strength of this team is on the defensive side of the ball. Mike Gundy’s defense is only surrendering 18.6 points a game.

This game sets up well for the Longhorns to get a top-15 win in-front of the home crowd and some important visitors (Hello Arch Manning). Oklahoma State to this point has not shown the offensive firepower to exploit a struggling Longhorn defense. As far as the offense goes, Oklahoma State has shut teams down this year. However, they have not faced as explosive an offense as the one Casey Thompson pilots. Now, let’s get to some predictions:

Michael Farber: Texas 49-20

Ryan McAloon: 45-28 Texas

Joseph Maggard: 48-31 Texas

Make sure to let us know your predictions Be sure to comment and like the article if you enjoyed it! Also be sure to follow us on Twitter! Follow @longhorns_atb, @MichaelFarber_ (Michael Farber), @ryfootballscout (Ryan McAloon), and @TN_Longhorn (Joseph Maggard)

Texas Longhorns: Now is not the time for panic

Texas Longhorns

Saturday afternoon featured many of the same feelings Texas Longhorns fans have been accustomed to the past decade: disgust, anger, sadness, and nausea. Losing to Oklahoma in Dallas hurts. Blowing a 21 point lead hurts. Blowing a 21 point lead to Oklahoma, who had to pull their ‘Heisman front-runner’ quarterback, is a fate worse than hell to most Longhorns. However, with perspective, there are reasons to believe that things are indeed different now. 

Renewed energy around the program

The most obvious reason for optimism that things will be different now for the Texas Longhorns is that things are. There is an entirely new staff that has been hot on the recruiting trail the past two months. This staff recognized the inadequacies of the current roster.

There are already seven defensive line recruits committed to the Longhorns to go along with two interior offensive linemen. Beefing up on the lines is the quickest way to improve, as this is where UT has struggled so far in the Sark era. This goes into the next reason that things are different: the move to the SEC.

The three letters representing the Southeastern Conference are often tongue-in-cheek ridiculed by Twitter when a school breaks out into an S-E-C chant. We have grown exhausted from hearing our neighbors in College Station gloat about their SEC monopoly in Texas. With Texas’s (hopefully) imminent move to the premier conference in college football, there is a renewed energy around the program. The stakes are higher in our new home, but the benefits are as well.

Recruiting will obviously be positively affected (goodbye A&M recruiting advantage). Marketing will skyrocket for the most valuable brand in college football. Key states will be opened up for a brand new suitor to create pipelines. The benefits will be huge for Texas to contribute to a conference instead of carrying eight other members to national relevancy.

There have been improvements already

It is easy to be struck by Deranged Longhorn Fan Syndrome (DLFS) after witnessing what transpired in the Cotton Bowl. The trip to Fayetteville was a complete disaster that showed exactly where this team is lacking talent. It does take some perspective to see that the team has already improved at this point.

Mid-majors Louisiana and Rice were not even close contests; this could not always be said during previous administrations. Texas Tech vs. Texas in years past was a shootout usually won by the team possessing the ball last or the team not making the last mistake.

It was over by halftime this year, with Sark taking his foot off the gas after hitting the 70 point mark. TCU has been a problem for Texas since its acceptance in the Big XII in 2021. The Longhorns found a way to win in Ft. Worth when the passing game was not clicking in a hostile environment.  

The four wins so far should not be discounted or cheapened by what happened in Dallas. Texas still controls its destiny in the Big XII title race. Given what we have witnessed this season, Texas should have confidence that this coaching staff has what it takes to take care of business against the middle-to-lower-tier conference opponents.

A coach that has been through it all

Charlie Strong and Tom Herman had great resumes until they accepted the head coaching position with the Texas Longhorns. Transforming mid-major powers Louisville and Houston were impressive feats, with each winning a BCS/New Year’s Six bowl before departing for the 40 acres. However, neither had the resume, both on and off the field, as Steve Sarkisian.

Coach Sark was ½ of the golden boy assistants (With Lane Kiffin) that Pete Carroll featured on his staff. The Trojans won big, put up huge numbers, and met very little resistance (except January 4, 2006). Sark was on the fast track to stardom at this point and parlayed it to the head coaching gig at Washington. He was able to build up enough equity there to get his dream job at USC. But this is where the true education of Sark began.

We all know the story of his fall from grace, so ill spare the details. But what happened from that point is why I have the most optimism for the future of Texas. Sark rebuilt his image with an off-field role at Alabama, a mixed result dip into the NFL, and a return to Alabama. In 2019 and 2020, he piloted record-setting offenses for the Tide and captured the 2020 national title.  

Steve Sarkisian is not another coach coming off a hot run as a Group of 5 head coach or a Power 5 coordinator. Sark is someone who has had everything in front of him and lost it. He has ventured lower than most coaches will ever have to. He has scratched and clawed to get back to this point, once again powering a blue blood program.

As far as the future of Texas Longhorns football, Sark will not be afraid to make the tough calls on assistants, in-game management, or critical calls during a game. When you have lost it all once, you will do anything in your power to not lose it again.

Most importantly, Steve Sarkisian understands how special being the head coach on the 40 acres is, unlike his two predecessors. Standing beside Pete Carroll in cardinal and gold on January 4, 2006, Sark saw what can happen when the coach and program mesh together perfectly in Austin, Texas.

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