Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Texas has all of the keys to beat an untested Oklahoma

Lorianne Willett
Quarterback Quinn Ewers during Texas’ game against Kansas on September 30, 2023.

There’s truly no other college football rivalry like it. Texas. Oklahoma. The states may only be separated by the Red River, but the roughly 92,000 screaming fans with a life-or-death allegiance to their school and states are divided by the 50 yard-line. 

The setup and environment for the Red River Rivalry makes for one of the most unique and unpredictable environments in the sport. 

With one side of the Cotton Bowl packed to the brim with fans wearing burnt orange, the other side is just as full of crimson red. 

As much as Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian has talked about going into a hostile environment, this is as hostile as it gets. With both locker rooms under the Oklahoma side, Texas players are subject to harassment when entering and exiting the field. 

“The Red River Rivalry is why we’re in college football,” Sarkisian said. “The spotlight of college football will be on us. In my opinion, (it’s) the best setting in college football, this is going to be an awesome environment and we’re very fortunate and humbled to be part of the game.”

Going into the matchup, Texas is ranked No. 3 and Oklahoma is ranked No. 12. Both teams are undefeated and departing the Big 12 for the SEC at the end of the season. 

In a game where truly anything can happen, Texas’ previous ranked matchups have helped it prepare. Oklahoma has not faced a ranked opponent this season. 

The Sooners’ offense has put up an impressive 47 points per game, but will have to face the stifling Texas defense for its first test of the season. 

Against Kansas, Texas did not allow a single third-down conversion by the Jayhawks, a team that was previously the best third-down team in the country. Oklahoma has converted over 50% of its third downs. 

Led by senior quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who has over 1,500 yards on the season, the Oklahoma offense will be tested by the dominating Texas secondary. After Texas won 49-0 last year, the emotions will be high on both sides of the ball. 

“Dillon (Gabriel) is a fantastic player,” Sarkisian said. ”We’re gonna get the best version of him. We’re gonna get any emotional team coming into the Cotton Bowl that we’re going to have to compete against. Emotion is great, but it only runs for so long, if you rely on just emotion to try to match emotion, sooner or later, you can exhaust yourself and it’s going to come down to execution.”

Texas sophomore quarterback Quinn Ewers has been playing the best football of his career so far thanks to his newfound confidence and ability to run the ball. Ewers’ confidence and poise have helped him lead Texas to a 5–0 start for the first time since 2009. 

“I’m definitely a whole lot more comfortable where I am right now than I was last year at this time,” Ewers said. “I’ve allowed (myself) to react off instinct more instead of thinking so much, which ultimately makes the game a lot more fun. When I’m having fun, that’s when I’m at my best.” 

In a game full of history, tradition and intense rivalry, Texas needs to be in control of every aspect of the game to win. Both sides of the ball have dominated all season, and when firing on all cylinders, have the ability to beat any team that they will face, including Oklahoma.

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About the Contributor
Lorianne Willett, Photo Editor
Lorianne is a Journalism and Global Sustainability junior from San Antonio, Texas. Currently, she is the Photo Editor. In her free time, she enjoys reading and playing tennis.