Landry Jones has had a strong career with the Sooners and many believe that he projects as an NFL quarterback some day in the near future. This season, he has been productive yet unspectacular, throwing for 1,032 yards and seven touchdowns against two interceptions. . David Ash, on the other hand, is in the midst of a breakout sophomore season and has been the nation’s third most efficient passer with a rating of 180.1. Completing over 77 percent of his passes, Ash has thrown for 1,276 yards and 11 touchdowns with just one interception through five games. While Jones has had the more established career as a starter, Ash has been more productive than the Sooners’ senior in 2012 and seems to be on the rise heading into this game.
Even with Ash having a standout season, the foundation of this Texas offense is still its run game. Three Longhorns have eclipsed the 200-yard rushing mark through five games, with Joe Bergeron leading the way with 300 yards and nine touchdowns. Malcolm Brown is averaging more than six yards a carry and if he misses this week with an ankle sprain, the explosive Johnathan Gray (5.2 yards per carry) still has the ability to lead the offense down the field. The Sooners have been strong on the ground as well, averaging 5.7 yards per rush, but collectively they have only run the ball 134 times. Oklahoma has a pass-first offense and due to this their running backs have scored six less touchdowns than the Texas backs.
Both teams like to spread the ball out among their wide receivers, as the Longhorns have five players with over 100 yards in five games and the Sooners have four such players through four games. Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley have become a dependable starting duo for Texas, combining for more than 500 yards and six touchdowns. For the Sooners, Sterling Shepard is having a nice freshman season, but their top target has been veteran Kenny Stills. Coming off of back-to-back 61-reception seasons, Stills leads Oklahoma with 29 catches for 344 yards, both of which would lead Texas despite Stills having played one less game. While both teams sport impressive receivers, the production and experience of Stills gives the Sooners a slight edge.
The Texas offense is predicated on its ability to run the ball and to earn yards after the catch on short completions. The Longhorns are sixth in the nation in scoring 46.4 points per game and they earn more than 200 yards per game both running and passing the ball. All season long the veteran Texas lineman have opened up holes for their runners and the Longhorns are averaging nearly five yards per carry on 213 attempts as a result. Likewise, the line has been impressive blocking on screen plays as well as traditional passes from the pocket and this is a big reason that Ash has been so efficient. The Sooners’ line has allowed Oklahoma to earn its share of yards passing and running, but overall Texas has had the more efficient and productive offense in 2012.