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1. Short Memory: The Sooners must put their disappointing loss at TCU behind them and refocus now on winning a week at a time. As I mentioned last week, and took ample grief for it too by the way, OU was no lock to win in Ft. Worth but even with playing poorly the Sooners almost pulled it off. OU needs a rapid, physical start Saturday in the Cotton Bowl so the first quarter feels particularity important.
2. Trevor Knight: Number 9 cannot go 14/35 passing with two picks if OU expects to win. Knight has yet to have a defining passing game in 2014 and Saturday in the Cotton Bowl one can assume that Texas will attempt to make Knight throw to beat the Steers. If OU has to throw the ball 35 times against UT, it won’t be a peaceful, easy feeling in Dallas around lunch time.
3. Sterling Needs Help: Sterling Shepherd can’t be single covered for an entire game by any team on the OU schedule. End of story. With that said, who does Knight find to take up the slack? We’ve been saying this for weeks and now it’s time for OU to utilize their other receivers and/or use Trevor’s legs for timely yardage that move the chains. TE Blake Bell is still an eligible receiver while receivers Duron Neal and KJ Young need to be given chances to get into the flow of the game. Bottom line is that OU can’t remain a one dimensional passing team.
4. Can OU Run the Ball against UT? Absolutely but only IF the offensive line can dominate and not make any untimely errors in their assignments and do so for four quarters against the front seven of the Horns. A dominating running game will take pressure off Knight and facilitate a play action passing game that is TK friendly. If OU wins, it will be largely because their running game is working.
5. Turnovers: No … not the fried version that one can find at the State Fair of Texas but the kind that keeps a 14.5 underdog in the game and gives them ‘hope’ that they can win a game that they shouldn’t. OU cannot afford to play a less than smart game with no turnovers and a minimal amount of ill advised penalties especially those of the dead ball variety.
6. Tackling: The Sooners had their worst tackling game of the season last week at the most inopportune time losing to a well coached, well organized TCU squad in conference play. Good tackling would likely have facilitated a key, Big 12 win and history cannot repeat itself Saturday. Kill shots look cool on TV highlights but getting your opponent on the ground is where the payday lies.
7. “Preliminary” Big 12 Game My Oklahoma A**: This is OU vs. Texas in the Cotton Bowl and if the Sooners lose, the Final Four of CFB is history for this season. I could care less what happens in Waco or any where else in the Big 12 because that’s largely TV hype but I get it. This is a game that OU MUST WIN and any one thinking other wise is hallucinating.
The Sooners had too many possessions in the 2nd half of the TCU game and scored 1 TD and a fluke safety. This won’t get it done Saturday. Offensive productivity and balance are the order of the day on that side of the ball. That’s not a revelation. The chaos that seemed to ensue at times in Ft. Worth simply lining up and having 11 players on the field must become a distant memory. Remember, this is still Oklahoma versus Texass and nothing comes easy on the second Saturday in October but indigestion from too many corn dogs.
Prediction: Oklahoma 24 Texas 14 (Sooners favored by 14.5)
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
You can follow Jim Ross on Twitter @JRsBBQ, listen to him on the Ross Report Podcast, and see him live atRINGSIDE: An Evening with Jim Ross. JR’s products are also available online at wweshop.com,americansoda.co.uk and beyondtheropes.co.uk