Opponents to watch: Rattler, Perkins lead way for Sooners

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Trey Young | OU Daily

Texas and Oklahoma are both stumbling into this weekend’s Red River Rivalry after losses to unranked opponents. Oklahoma, standing at 1–2 on the season, has lost consecutive games for the first time since 1999 and is unranked for the first time in four years. However, the preseason Big 12 Championship favorites have a depth chart chock-full of four- and five-star talent and one of the nation’s best coaches in Lincoln Riley. This weekend’s matchup will have huge implications for who will contend for a title in the train wreck that is the Big 12. 

Here are four Sooners to watch for Saturday:

No. 7 Spencer Rattler — Quarterback

Redshirt freshman Spencer Rattler has shown flashes of brilliance in his first three starts for the Sooners. The No. 1-rated quarterback in the class of 2019 has thrown for 977 yards and 10 touchdowns in three games, but late-game interceptions that have cost his team. In Oklahoma’s game against Kansas State, Rattler overthrew his receiver and had his pass intercepted with 34 seconds left in the fourth quarter to seal the Sooners’ loss. Rattler, a native of Phoenix, also threw an interception in the end zone last weekend against Iowa State with just over a minute left in the game. The preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year pick entered 2020 with enormous hype surrounding him, and now he must cut back on late-game turnovers to avoid a lost season for the Sooners.

No. 56 Creed Humphrey — Center

A first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2019, redshirt junior Creed Humphrey did not allow a sack in just under 800 snaps last season. Now, the 6’5” center out of Shawnee, Oklahoma, is the anchor of an offensive line that is giving up three sacks per game. A team captain for the 2020 season, Humphrey will be tasked with silencing a Texas defensive line that has given up 126.3 yards rushing per game and allowed TCU to gash it last weekend for 226 rushing yards. In last year’s Red River Rivalry game, Humphrey and his teammates didn’t allow a single sack on former quarterback Jalen Hurts, and the Sooners carved the Longhorns’ defense for 511 total yards. If Texas wants to have a chance to win this year, it needs to find a way around Humphrey and into the Sooner backfield.

 

No. 10 Pat Fields — Safety

An honorable mention All-Big 12 selection in 2019, junior safety Pat Fields has started fast once again this season by leading the Sooners’ defense in pass breakups with four. Fields will be tasked with limiting a Texas passing attack that has averaged just over 300 yards per game. The Sooners have given up 616 yards passing total in their first two Big 12 matchups. Fields was a huge factor in the Sooners’ win over the Longhorns last season, as he recorded seven tackles, with one of them coming in the backfield. If Oklahoma is going to win this game, it will need a similar effort from Fields and less missed tackles on defense than in the games so far this season.

No. 24 Brian Asamoah — Linebacker

Linebacker Brian Asamoah is making the most of his first full season as a starter in his redshirt sophomore campaign. The Columbus, Ohio, product is the team’s leading tackler through the first three games of the season with 18 tackles. The defense as a whole, however, must be better. The Sooners have allowed over 30 points in consecutive weeks, and their job will not get any easier when they line up against the Longhorns this Saturday. A three-star prospect in the class of 2018, Asamoah has shocked many by getting a starting job on Oklahoma’s defense so early in his career. The 6’1” 230-pounder will look to build off his impressive start to the season by trying to slow down a Texas offense that has averaged 51 points per game in 2020.