Saddle up, Longhorns! The Okie State Cowboys stampede into Austin this weekend for a showdown. Texas comes in 6-0 in conference and sitting on top of the Big 12 standings. The ‘Horns are also ranked again, finally. Okie State wants a piece of that Big 12 championship, and feels they are legitimately still in the hunt for the Fiesta Bowl. They come in with a 5-1 conference record, their only loss a squeaker to WVU. Okie State, we feel you! But nope. The ‘Horns are primed for a Big 12 championship this year. Maybe next time! Sorry, nope again.
Let’s talk about what Okie State brings to the table. Remember when they were one of the conference whipping boys? Mike Gundy has done a respectable job of reshaping the program to prominence. Two Big 12 championships in three years. That will get your attention. But have you seen their mascot? Pistol Pete. He’s nightmare fuel. Take a look:
Our mascot may be a ruminant with four digestive chambers, but he’s pleasant to look at and sort of cuddly.
Not as cuddly as Puddles, but he’s regal. Stately. Brings an air of gravity. Plus, he could totally kill you. So there’s that.
Okie State is by no means a “gimme” game. Vegas oddsmakers favor the Cowboys by a field goal. That’s pretty darn close, folks! Last year, Texas traveled to Stillwater and upset the Cowboys and their weird mascot, 41-36. Look, the Okies are probably going to be a little confused, coming to Texas, where they have indoor plumbing, telephones, dentistry, and movies that talk. The ‘Horns should be ready to come out with both barrels blazing. The Cowboys have some playmakers on their team. They began the season with the often-confusing dual QB system, with JW Walsh and Clint Chelf. After Walsh did not live up to expectations, the game was turned over to the senior Chelf. He is 77 for 152 attempts, racking up 1025 yards. He has 9 TDs, 4 interceptions, and 3 sacks. Before being “retired,” Walsh had 5 sacks. So, a total of 8 sacks for the OKST QBs. Could get interesting on Saturday! I will be looking for some large-and-in-charge Longhorns to get all up in Chelf’s face and ruin his day.
The two top rushers for OKST are junior Desmond Roland and senior Jeremy Smith. These two have put up some impressive and troublesome numbers. Roland has 109 carries on the season for 506 yards and 10 TDs. Smith has 91 carries for 319 yards and 9 TDs. That should give Grand-Master-Defense-Magician Robinson something to think about. The Cowboys on paper look very similar to the ‘Horns, except for points scored. Those two toilet games that Texas played will continue haunting them for some time.
Something to think about: Well-known wounded spirit animal Johnathan Gray and his counterpart, Malcolm “Touchdown” Brown both outperformed the OKST rushers in total yards. Ahem.
Lest we forget, both teams also employ a play that involves a tall person heaving the ball through the air to a very fast person, who is supposed to catch the ball. OKST’s two top receivers are junior Josh Stewart and senior Tracy Moore. Stewart has bagged 40 receptions this season for 510 yards and 2 TDs. Moore clocks in with 35 receptions for 446 yards and 4 TDs. Stewart’s longest reception is an impressive 73 yards, and for Moore, 46 yards.
In Texas’ corner, we have perennial fan favorite Jaxon Shipley with 46 receptions for 527 yards and a solo TD. His longest reception is 46 yards. But, let’s remember that Shipley does his best work in short-yardage situations. He’s like a piston. And, he should definitely get more playing time. “Magic” Mike Davis has hauled in 33 catches for 477 yards and 6 TDs. His longest catch (so far) is 57 yards. Pretty even match-up.
The Texas secondary must continue to protect against the long ball. Both Stewart and Moore are capable of trucking downfield and punishing the opponent’s defense. The Texas offense, with recent injuries, will have to rely on depth and fill gaps. Luckily, that’s one area where folks are itching to step up. Coach Applewhite will have to get more creative this week. We hope to see a lot more of Daje Johnson and Joe Bergeron. Spirit animals can’t be replaced, but they can have back-ups.
The Texas team is being described as “injury-ridden.” “Hobbled.” “Weakened.” Well, I guess we’ll see about that! The sports illuminati have pointed out this week that both teams have some struggles offensively. Let’s hope Texas gets inspired by a home game and gets serious in a hurry.
Case McCoy needs to have another solid outing, reminiscent of his performance against OKST’s big brother. He must keep turnovers to a minimum. A boring playbook is OK, when it results in scoring and fewer mistakes. Will we see Swoopes? It would be great to get him some snaps and let him stretch his centaur-legs a bit. The ‘Horns need to come out ready to play, in front of a home crowd. This end-stretch lineup is a murderer’s row with OKST, Tech, and Baylor. No more flat performances. The Big 12 championship is on the line.
Also, there are two big-time recruits visiting Austin this weekend. Be sure to stand up straight and use your good manners. These boys are heavily flirting with the SEC (boooo! Hisssss!) but there’s nothing written in stone. Yet! They might be Texas players waiting to happen.
I predict Texas will win in exciting fashion, just not as exciting as last week. It will be close, but I think it will be Texas by 7. The Magic 8 Ball agrees with me. The over/under on the game is 62.5, so someone is expecting a big scoring game. Bet wisely, children.
See you on Saturday! Hook ‘em!
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