Four things Texas needs to do in order to beat Oklahoma State

·4 min read

Texas is fresh off one of the biggest blunders in college football history.

Last week in the Red River Showdown, the Longhorns blew a 21 point lead and ultimately lost to the Oklahoma Sooners in the final minute.

While many believe Texas will have a chance to avenge the loss in December, they first have to get through a tough slate of games. Next up is a very sound No. 12 Oklahoma State team who is 5-0 on the season. Defeating the Cowboys would certainly help their chances of making it to the Big 12 championship game, but it won’t be easy.

In order to reach their conference goal, the Longhorns will need to treat every game as if that win controls the fate of their season. The remaining games on their schedule will now have little to no margin of error.

Oklahoma State has the potential to expose Texas if the mistakes from last week aren’t corrected. Here are four things that Texas absolutely needs to do to ensure that they do not suffer a loss two weeks in a row.

Establish the run game early and often

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The Longhorns gave the running backs a total of 20 touches against Oklahoma, with all of those going to Bijan Robinson. The Cowboys have a stout front that is only giving up about 90 yards rushing per game. For Texas to find early success, they need to be able to run the ball — something that a talented Baylor team was unable to do.

When Baylor squared off with Oklahoma State, the Bears were not able to run the ball nearly as successfully as they had in prior games where they had multiple 100-yard rushers. Their lead back only mustered 97 yards, and as a team were averaging just 3.7 yards per carry.

Texas needs to try get all three backs involved, and they may have to get creative on how they will get Roschon Johnson and Keilan Robinson their touches.

Get more receivers involved early

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The Longhorns lost a key player in wide receiver in Jordan Whittington in the fourth quarter of the Oklahoma game, and are now going to need other players outside of Xavier Worthy to step up. Joshua Moore will surely slide into that second receiver role, but players like Marcus Washington and Kelvontay Dixon will find themselves in a position to produce more than they have been early on in the season.

The receivers will need to be sure handed, because there is no guarantee that the run game will be as successful as they have been in the past couple weeks. Texas lost a player in Whittington who has 24 catches on the year, and was a reliable third down target that Thompson has heavily leaned on. It should be expected that Sarkisian tries a few quick hitters to get Washington and Dixon involved, who have a combined five catches on the year, it will boost their confidence.

Texas defense needs to contain Jaylen Warren

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The two teams that Texas lost to and had the hardest time stopping this year have been Arkansas and Oklahoma. Both teams had a mobile quarterback and solid running back. Oklahoma State’s Jaylen Warren has been on an absolute tear lately, and has been receiving large sums of carries that would make Gary Patterson throw a fit.

Over their last three games, Warren has been averaging close to 32 carries per game, and averaging 155 yards rushing per game with a 218 yard rushing performance under his belt.

Quarterback Spencer Sanders also averages over 11 carries per game, which is exactly the type of backfield that has given this Longhorns defense difficulties. Texas has given up 200 yards rushing per game this season, and if they cannot somewhat control the line of scrimmage on the defensive side of the ball, it will be a horribly long day and likely end in a loss. Losing Jacoby Jones does not help, and Texas will need big performances from players like T’Vondre Sweat and Alfred Collins among others.

New offensive line must be better

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It’s no secret that the Texas offensive line has been terrible, and after Denzel Okafor went down with an injury, they tried Andrej Karic at right tackle and moved Derek Kerstetter to left guard. The staff clearly did not like how the line looked against Oklahoma, as they shouldn’t have, and made another tweak to the line for this week’s game against Oklahoma State.

This week will see Kerstetter at right tackle, Tope Imade at right guard, and Junior Angilau at left guard. There is a lot of moving pieces on the line, but when a position group has been as bad as this one, something must be done. Oklahoma was able to generate a lot of pressure and somewhat limit Bijan Robinson outside of his one long run.

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