The Horn's rushing defense has done well against weaker running teams. Derrick Johnson is just as much of a force as everyone expected at WLB. In fact, the linebacking corps has performed beyond expectations, with Reed Boyd and Lee Jackson impressing the Horn faithful. Highly recruited freshman Mike Williams is seeing some playing time, too. Quentin Griffin is a steady threat at running back for OU. He is averaging 7 yards per carry, and just came off a 100 yard rushing game versus Missouri. Against Alabama's tough run defense, Griffin was shut down. Same with his performance against South Florida's defense. Texas' defense should be able to hold it's own.

Just as impressive, Texas' DL has a deadly duo of DEs in Cory Redding and Kalen Thornton. These two are expected to continue making big tackles for loss and relentlessly rushing the QB. Also playing some time at end will be freshman Brian Pickryl and sophomore Austin Sendlein. Marcus Tubbs has played huge at DT for the Horns, proficient at both rushing the passer and stopping the run. And freshman DT Rodrique Wright is contributing already. Did we forget to mention the OL's for each team? Oh well, the reason should be obvious by now.


Texas' Cedric Benson should gain over 100 yards in this game, so why the slight advantage to OU? The answer: because it won't make much difference. Oklahoma has dealt before with strong rushing attacks, versus both Alabama and Missouri (granted they were close games). Benson will need a more-than-average day to make an impact to the outcome of the game. OU's rushing defense has done well at containing so far, although big plays (tackles for loss, fumbles) have been too few. MLB Lance Mitchell has become one of the biggest contributors, as has WLB Teddy Lehman. Tommie Harris and Jimmy Wilkerson on the line defense the rush well.

Let's just say Sooner DT Tommie Harris still has room to grow, and as a sophomore, is already the leader of this unit. Jimmy Wilkerson is fast on the end and gets to unexpecting QBs early and often. Opposite of Jimmy is Johnny, Johnny Jackson, another young gunner for OU. Kory Klein at DT is a junior returning starter. Look for the Sooners to use this advantage to control Texas' capable weapons.



Even against some quality passing teams, Texas' pass defense has held true. Now ranked second in the nation, this is the backbone of the Longhorn team. Rod Babers has become a big play specialist at CB, as teams try to shy away from last year's interception threat Nathan Vasher on the other side. FS Dakarai Pearson has taken away some passes this year. This group even outshines OU's secondary. Inversely, Oklahoma's passing attack has not reached their full potential, although last week some good numbers were put up against Missouri's weak secondary. The Sooners have faced much better passing defenses than Missouri's and have always come out on top. QB Nate Hybl will be looking for Antwone Savage and Curtis Fagan to have big games. A pleasant surprise has been sophomore WR Will Peoples, and TE Trent Smith is an invaluable outlet for Hybl, who hasn't thrown an interception. RB Quentin Griffin will come out of the backfield to catch passes, as well. But look for Texas to be able to keep this OU passing unit from consistent success, giving up a few big gainers.



Neither of these two offenses has hit full stride. This is apparent in Texas' passing game. We all know the names on the Horn's side of the ball. Consistently, Chris Simms' biggest performances have come against the Longhorn's weakest opposing pass defenses. Even a susceptible Oklahoma State defense held Simms and Texas to just 17 points. Receivers Roy Williams, Sloan Thomas, and B.J. Johnson are waiting for their breakout games, with Williams looking to get sharp after an injury. Oklahoma's pass defense is dominating, lead by FS Brandon Everage, and CB Derrick Strait. Sophomore CB Antonio Perkins is quickly making a name for himself, and young Eric Bassey adds experience with each game. The Sooners have not faced a stiff passing attack up to this point. So the test will come this Saturday when they face the star-studded cast of Texas. Which team will "pass"?



Antonio Perkins has a couple TD's on punt returns this year for Oklahoma. Both kicking teams have been missing field goals as of late, and the punting games are evenly average. Texas has also had impressive returns, making this match up too close to call. Could be a big factor, none the less, as big games like this often come down to special teams.



On paper, Texas may appear to have a slight edge. If Benson can have a big rushing game, and if the Texas wide receivers, including a rusty Roy Williams can hit stride with Simms' passes, then Texas can wrap this one up. Something about recent history whispers differently, though, something not on paper. Will Chris Simms thrive, just survive, or take a dive in the spotlight of another big game? Will Oklahoma's defense hold, and be able to disturb the Texas offense? And will OU's offense find ways to score against a dominant Texas defense? Texas may have a slight advantage on paper, but Oklahoma should prove the paper(s) wrong, once again. Look for the Sooner defense to keep it close as their offense pulls it out in the end.




  1. The big Texas offensive line needs to open up the running game against a tough Oklahoma defensive front.
  2. The Texas receivers versus the Oklahoma secondary is one of the best match ups to watch in all the nation Saturday.
  3. Cedric Benson needs to play the game of his life.
  4. Chris Simms has been horrid against Oklahoma, he needs to do more than just "not lose" the game.
  5. The Texas tackles (Dockery and Doane) have to provide outside protection.




  1. The Sooners cannot be one-dimensional, Griffin and Hybl need to be effective at running and throwing.
  2. Vice Versa: The Oklahoma receivers versus the Texas secondary is one of the best match ups to watch in all the nation Saturday (see above note).
  3. Derrick Johnson needs to shadow Quentin Griffin all day, whether carrying the pigskin or running pass routes.
  4. Nate Hybl just needs to continue his current success and not get fancy.
  5. Shutting down TE Trent Smith in clutch situations will be a huge task for the Longhorns, you can only hope to minimize the destruction.