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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Sarkisian, Ewers anticipate upcoming Red River Showdown

Peyton Sims

For the first time since 2011, both Texas and Oklahoma enter the Red River Showdown as two undefeated teams. While the Longhorns, sitting at No. 3 in the nation as of the most recent AP poll, lost that 2011 game by 38 points, Texas holds current bragging rights over the Sooners after a 49-0 victory in 2022.

“Red River Rivalry, it’s why we’re in college football, to be part of games like this,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said about the upcoming matchup.

Texas enters the matchup as six-point favorites, according to ESPN, but this Oklahoma team is far different than what it was in its 49-0 defeat. Oklahoma has shot its way up to No. 12 in the AP Poll, cruising to a 5–0 record with a Big 12-leading 47 points per game.

“Coach (Brett) Venables has done a tremendous job going into year two,” Sarkisian said. “(Dillon) Gabriel is playing at a very high level. … He distributes the ball beautifully.”

Texas versus Oklahoma is a rivalry that is over 100 years old, with the first matchup taking place in 1900 in a Texas 28-2 victory. The Longhorns lead the all-time series with 63 wins to Oklahoma’s 50, but the Sooners have had the winning formula in recent memory. Sarkisian is 1–1 against the Sooners, but before him, Texas had lost six of the last eight matchups against the Sooners. 

“We’re going to get an emotional team coming into the Cotton Bowl that we’re going to have to compete against,” Sarkisian said. “We have to recognize that and play good football at the end of the day.”

Saturday’s matchup has major implications for the final Big 12 standings. Not only are both teams undefeated entering the game, but they stand as the only Big 12 teams in the AP Top 25. With the two teams looking like the biggest juggernauts in conference play, there are serious Big 12 championship implications for whichever team wins on Saturday.

“We’re trying to compete for a Big 12 championship and so are they,” Sarkisian said. “It’s going to take our best effort, not only physically but mentally.”

Each team played comfortably in their matchups last week, with Texas breezing past then-No. 24 Kansas 40-14, while Oklahoma defeated Iowa State 50-20. Last Saturday’s game was the first time Oklahoma had given up more than 17 points in a game all season.

“They’re obviously better at what they do than they were last year,” junior quarterback Quinn Ewers said. “Just super excited for the opportunity and the opportunity for this team.”

Ewers isn’t wrong. Oklahoma is quite different. On the offensive side of the ball, quarterback Dillon Gabriel will play in his first Red River game. He was injured before the 2022 matchup. Oklahoma’s leading receiver, Andrel Anthony, transferred in during the offseason from Michigan. The defense is completely different with seven transfers and two freshmen in their rotating unit, showcasing the strength of Venables’ defensive scheme.

“Coach Venables (has) been doing it for a long time,” Sarkisian said. “He’s one of the best in the business at game planning and getting his defenses ready to play. So we know it’s gonna be a great challenge.”

Saturday’s game is set to kick off at 11 a.m. at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, with a chance at bowl eligibility and a potential No. 1 rank in the nation on the line.

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About the Contributors
Evan Vieth, Senior Sports Reporter
Evan is a junior journalism major and the sports editor for the Texan. He is originally from Washington DC and has covered UT sports for 4 semesters and counting. He has covered the Men's Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football teams and had the opportunity to write about the 2023 Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.
Peyton Sims, Associate Photo Editor
Peyton is senior journalism student at UT Austin. During this fall semester, she's an Associate Photo Editor for The Daily Texan and she's a true crime Podcast Producer for The Drag Audio Production House.