The Oklahoma Sooners will travel south of the Red River once again to take on the Texas Longhorns in the 117th edition of the Red River Rivalry. Considered the best of rivalries in all of college sports, the two are ranked foes heading into the battle grounds of the Cotton Bowl. Only one can reign victorious, claiming an inside track to the Big 12 Conference Championship Game. Here’s what the Sooner defense must do in order to emerge with a win in hand.
Force Turnovers & Increase Offensive Possessions
Over the course of five games, opponents have tried to limit the Sooner offense by employing a unique tactic — limiting the number of possessions. Thus far, the strategy has worked as Spencer Rattler and the gang have failed to eclipse the 40-point barrier against Power 5 opponents. Over the past three weeks, OU has accumulated 25 total offensive possessions (number does not include one drive that ended in a kneel down). Forced to work within the confines of roughly eight offensive possessions each outing, the opportunities to actually score are few and far between. Needless to say, in the Red River Rivalry, expect this plot to be on full display once again. The simple notion puts a premium on scoring with the chance arises.
In turn, the defense must produce turnovers in an effort to increase the number of offensive possessions. Over the past four weeks, the Longhorns have committed five turnovers. The chances will be there but it’s now time to convert in possibly the biggest game of the season.
Slow Down Robinson & Make Thompson Throw
There’s no denying the talent that Bijan Robinson possesses in the backfield when receiving the rock. Averaging 130 yards per game and 6.21 per carry, the running back is a threat on every single down. Clearly the strength of the team, Robinson will be going up against the heart of the Oklahoma defense. Surrendering a mere 2.73 yards per carry as a group, the front seven have only allowed four rushing touchdowns in five games. In this battle, something has to give.
However, there’s an added benefit in stopping Robinson on a consistent basis. While the OU secondary may lack experience as a whole, it’s a talented and athletic room. Watching Casey Thompson’s accuracy drop over the past three weeks should have the bunch licking their chops.