We are now a couple of days into Texas hate week as the Red River Rivalry is set to take place at 11:00am on Saturday morning. There is truly nothing better in college football than this rivalry.
We have a pretty solid quarterback matchup this week. Before we get into it, let’s briefly talk about Spencer Rattler’s record in the matchups from the last two games. I was out on vacation and missed the last two quarterback matchup posts, so let’s try to catch up.
We’ve been tracking Rattler’s record based on his performance compared to the opposing teams quarterback performance. Rattler was 1-1 heading into the Nebraska game. Let’s face it, Oklahoma might have walked away with the victory over the Cornhuskers, but Adrian Martinez was the better quarterback that day.
That would put his record at 1-2 heading into the game with West Virginia. This one was tough to score because neither quarterback played particularly well. But, I’ll give it to Rattler due to him going 6-6 on the final drive of the game to put the Sooners ahead. Say what you want about this game, but Rattler came through in the final moments when it was needed.
Rattler went into the Kansas State game with a lot to prove. I’m really impressed with his ability to block out all of the noise and come out and play ball the way that he did. He completed 88% of his passes going 22-25 for 243 yards, and 2 touchdowns on the day. This was without a doubt one of his better games this season, putting his record at 3-2 so far.
Now that we are all caught up, let’s jump into the quarterback matchup for the Red River Rivalry.
Spencer Rattler has been under a lot of heat from both Oklahoma fans and the national media. He has certainly underperformed as far as expectations go through the first half of the season, but most of the hate coming his way is unwarranted.
He has done something that Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, and Jalen Hurts never did. He has led Oklahoma to 13 straight victories dating back to October 10th, 2020. While he may not be the Heisman candidate many had hoped for, he has found a way to win football games.
I feel like Rattler still has full control of his offense despite some of the issues we have seen. It looks as if the team still has full trust in his abilities to lead this team as QB1. There’s no doubt that he has the talent needed, so as long as he remains in control I feel like things will be okay for the Oklahoma offense.
Right now my only worry about Rattler is his deep ball. Now, I’m not sure if Oklahoma’s lack of a run game has anything to do with the coverages he is seeing, but his results on deep passes have not been great. On the year he is 3-12 on passes of 20 yards or more, with 2 interceptions and no touchdowns. This could explain some of Lincoln Riley’s hesitations when it comes to stretching out the defense with deeper routes for the Sooners receivers.
Heading into this big rivalry game, it’s nice that Rattler already has a game against Texas under his belt. A year ago he helped the Sooners come away with a 53-45 win in overtime. He was benched just before halftime due to some of the mental mistakes he was making. Backup quarterback Tanner Mordecai came in to finish the half for Oklahoma. However, it was Rattler who come out with the offense in the second half to finish the game. He finished the day with 3 touchdowns and 209 passing yards.
Casey Thompson has had quite the journey to becoming QB1 at Texas. The 4th year quarterback was an early enrollee in 2018 for the Longhorns, and had played in seven games before the 2021 season began. One of his seven games was the big bowl win over Colorado last season. He went 8-10 through the air and had four touchdowns.
After leading the way to victory in the Alamo Bowl, it seemed like a for sure thing that Thompson would be the starter in 2021. However, that was not the case. The Longhorns went with Hudson Card in the opener against Louisiana.
After having offensive struggles against Arkansas, Texas decided to give Thompson a chance. He came into the game and had success moving the ball. He even found his way into the end zone for a couple of rushing touchdowns. Casey Thompson took over the offense at this point, and the Longhorns have averaged 53 points per game over the last three weeks.
Thompson has completed 71% of his passes, and has thrown for 9 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He is also a threat with his feet as we saw in the game against Arkansas. He has found his way into the end zone three times this season.
The Sooners will need to stop the run on Saturday and force Casey Thompson to throw the ball. They will also need to make sure they contain him on the ground though. If he manages to get comfortable in this game it could be a long afternoon for Oklahoma. However, the Sooners feel confident about their abilities to stop the Longhorns. OU safety Pat Fields said that his first interception in high school came against Casey Thompson.
OU safety Pat Fields says his first interception in high school came on a Casey Thompson pass.— MYRON PATTON (@myron_patton) October 5, 2021
Experience Matters In Big Games
What is ultimately going to give Spencer Rattler the advantage in this one is the fact that he has played in this game before. He has had to overcome adversity, and find a way to win in overtime. I think Casey Thompson will have his moments to shine, but it will be overshadowed by the performance of Rattler.