OU football: Four matchups that could decide Red River Showdown
Here are four of the key matchups that figure to go a long way toward deciding Saturday’s Red River Showdown:
1. Oklahoma CB Tre Brown vs. Texas WR Joshua Moore
Though Brown’s deficiencies have been laid bare in the last two losses, the cornerbacks have been the better part of the Sooners’ secondary so far this season. And Brown has a history of success against the Longhorns. It was his corner blitz sack of Sam Ehlinger for a safety that put OU firmly in command of the 2018 Big 12 Championship Game. Last season, one of the biggest reasons the Sooners’ defense was successful overall was Parnell Motley’s ability to nearly completely take away the opposition’s top receiver. OU doesn’t have that type of lockdown corner this time around. Moore has been Ehlinger’s top target so far, with 11 catches for 200 yards and four touchdowns. Moore had three touchdowns against Texas Tech, including a game-tying 18-yard score in the final minute of regulation and a 12-yard touchdown in overtime that turned out to be the game-winner.
2. Oklahoma DTs Erik Swenson/Anton Harrison vs. Texas OLB Joseph Ossai
The Longhorns have struggled to put much pressure on quarterbacks so far this season, with just three sacks. But Ossai has been the Longhorns’ best pass rusher so far and also makes an impact in stopping the run. The Sooners are still looking for the right combination at left tackle, with Swenson and Harrison rotating. Both have struggled so far. They’ll need to be more consistent against Texas, who figures to bring Ossai from several different spots.
3. Oklahoma TE Austin Stogner vs. Texas LB DeMarvion Overshown
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Texas coach Tom Herman raved about Stogner earlier this week, and for good reason. The sophomore is leading the Sooners with 174 receiving yards. He doesn’t have the explosiveness of Charleston Rambo or Marvin Mims but he’s developed a rapport with Spencer Rattler and has made plays not only on designed plays but as a safety valve when things haven’t gone as planned. Stogner’s emergence, along with the continued strong play of Jeremiah Hall, gives OU the ability to show defenses wildly different looks with the same personnel package. Stogner is a matchup nightmare, with playmaking ability of a wide receiver and the size of a traditional tight end. Because of those different looks, Stogner will face several defenders, but Overshown, a converted safety, might have the best chance at success. Overshown has struggled with missed tackles so far this season, though.
4. Oklahoma rush LB Nik Bonitto vs. Texas LT Sam Cosmi
Bonitto has done some good things early in the season but OU could use some more explosive plays from him. Cosmi is a preseason All-American who is charged with protecting Sam Ehlinger. Cosmi and the Longhorns failed to do that a year ago against the Sooners, as Ehlinger was sacked nine times. Alex Grinch figures to bring pressure from several different spots, though it’s going to take another way than beating Cosmi straight up for OU’s defense to disrupt things in the backfield.