As the calendar shifts to October, the games take on greater importance as teams look to march toward the College Football Playoff. There will be no more impactful game in Week 6 than the 119th renewal of the Red River Rivalry between No. 3 Texas and No. 12 Oklahoma.
Last season, the Longhorns defeated the Sooners 49-0 in Brent Venables’ first year as Oklahoma’s head coach. It was the first series win for Longhorn head coach Steve Sarkisian, who is now 1-1 against the Sooners.
Sarkisian expects a much more challenging ride in this week’s contest between undefeated opponents.
“Coach Venables, he’s done it at too high a level for too long to think that they wouldn’t fix it,” Sarkisian told reporters during his press conference on Monday. “I said last year that they would do it and of course they did. Their defense is currently playing at a high level. The diversity of their tasks is a great challenge.”
The Sooners score nearly 48 points per game while allowing 10.8 points per game on defense.
In a sign of the times, Saturday will be the last team the venerable rivals face in this game as Big 12 opponents. Next season both teams will make the jump to the Southeastern Conference. Additionally, for the first time in the age of the transfer portal, multiple players from each team will compete against each other in the classic rivalry. After a disappointing 6-7 season in Venables’ first year as coach, Oklahoma added 22 players through the portal.
Usually it’s a big game no matter what the records are; However, this is the first time since 2011 that both teams go into the game undefeated.
“At some point, every week, I talk about not letting my emotions control me,” Venables told reporters about the message he will convey to his team. “You can’t just be intense and crazy out there. You have to have a focused intensity that leads to detail, precision and execution.”
Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel was with the team last season but did not play against Texas due to injury. Gabriel is back with a vengeance. He completes over 75 percent of his pass attempts and has thrown 15 touchdowns and two interceptions in five games.
“Gabriel plays at a very high level. They have an explosive unit,” Sarkisian told reporters. “He distributes the ball beautifully, whether it’s RPOs, advantage throws, shot plays or anything like that.”
Texas leads the series 63-50-5 and is one of two programs in the Big 12 with a winning record against the Sooners. Last season’s win was Texas’ first in the series since 2018.
Here’s how to watch Texas vs. Oklahoma
Texas (5-0) plays Oklahoma in Dallas on Saturday with kickoff at noon ET on ABC. Chris Fowler (play-by-play), Kirk Herbstreit (analyst) and Holly Rowe (Sidelines) will direct the action. Fans can also use the ESPN app to stream.
Texas vs Oklahoma betting information
According to Wednesday’s betting odds on BetMGM, Texas, led by quarterback Quinn Ewers, is the favorite by 6.5 points. The oddsmakers are expecting a high score, with the over/under ratio at 60.5. Oklahoma’s odds for an upset are +200.
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