DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — This Saturday the No. 22 Texas Longhorns will face off against the unranked Oklahoma Sooners at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas’ Fair Park. While there is no State Fair of Texas and both teams are coming off a loss… this is still the Red River Rivalry.
The five-time defending Big 12 champions Sooners are 0-2 in league play (losses to Kansas State and Iowa State) for the first time since 1988. They are unranked for the first time in Lincoln Riley’s four seasons as head coach, and are not ranked playing Texas for the first time since 2005.
The Longhorns are coming off a 33-31 home loss to TCU and are the only Big 12 program with a winning record against the Sooners. But Oklahoma has won eight of the last 11 against Texas, including the Big 12 title game in 2018. So it could be anybody’s game.
When it comes to quarterbacks it’s old vs. young, with fourth-year Texas starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger against Oklahoma freshman Spencer Rattler, the league’s top two passers.
So far this year, Ehlinger has thrown for 924 yards with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions, while Rattler has 982 yards with 10 TDs and four picks.
Both Oklahoma and Texas are struggling on defense again, and it has cost both programs and the Big 12 Conference.
The league’s two marquee teams started off with national title hopes. Less than a month into the season, neither are where they expected to be as they prepare for the Red River Showdown.
The Sooners probably have no shot at the College Football Playoff after getting there the past three years, and Texas likely would be out of the running with a loss. It’s not a good look for a conference that has become known for Oklahoma’s failure to stop elite teams in big games and Texas’ tendency to underachieve.
The Sooners appeared to be moving in the right direction on defense last season before giving up 63 points in the national semifinal against LSU. This season, the Sooners were outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter of a 38-35 loss to Kansas State and squandered a 30-23 lead in the fourth quarter of a 37-30 loss to Iowa State.
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch gets no breather this weekend: The Longhorns, led by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, have the nation’s No. 1-ranked scoring offense with 51 points per game. Ehlinger leads the nation with 14 touchdown passes.
“Collectively now, we’ve got to play four quality quarters of football and find a way to win in the end,” Grinch said. “We’ve done the exact opposite the last two weeks, which is obviously us as coaches not doing a good enough job of getting guys to play four quarters.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)