OU Football: Red River Showdown Game Notes
Norman - In a matchup of the Big 12's two most successful programs, No. 12 Oklahoma plays Texas for the 112th time on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CT. The game, to be played in Dallas' Cotton Bowl (capacity 92,100) for the 89th straight year, will be televised by ESPN with Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe announcing.
OU has won 10 Big 12 titles in the league's 21-year history, with no other program during that span winning more than three. All 10 of OU's Big 12 titles have come in the last 18 years, with no other program winning more than two during the span. Texas ranks second with three Big 12 titles (last one in 2009).
This season marks the first since 1947 that both Oklahoma (Lincoln Riley) and Texas (Tom Herman) have first-year head coaches of their respective programs. 1947 marked the first year of the Bud Wilkinson era at OU (went 145-29-4 in 17 seasons and won three national titles) and the debut season for Blair Cherry at UT (went 31-10-1 in four campaigns and posted a pair of top-five AP national finishes). Wilkinson's Sooners lost to Cherry's Longhorns 34-14 in 1947 but posted 20-14, 20-14 and 14-13 victories the next three years.
Texas is the only Big 12 program with a winning record against the Sooners. Oklahoma is 45-61-5 in the series, but owns a 24-19-3 (.554) advantage since 1971. In the Big 12 era, OU is 12-9 (.571) against the Longhorns. The Sooners have won five of the last seven meetings.
Each of the last three OU-Texas games have been decided by seven or fewer points (and by a total of 17 points).
The home team has won each of the last five matchups and seven of the last eight. Texas is the designated home team this season.
Oklahoma's loss to Iowa State on Saturday marked just its third since the start of the 2000 season in the game immediately prior to its matchup against Texas. The Sooners rebounded to beat the Longhorns on each of the previous two occasions (lost 27-24 at Colorado in 2007 as AP's No. 3 team and beat Texas 28-21; lost 37-33 at TCU in 2014 as AP's No. 4 team and beat Texas 31-26).
Dating back to the start of the 2012 season, the Sooners have won 27 of their last 32 regular season games away from home. In those 32 games, Oklahoma has outscored its opponents 1,266-852 (40-27 average). OU has scored at least 30 points in 26 of those 32 contests.
This marks the fifth straight season that OU enters the Red River Showdown ranked in the AP Top 25 while Texas is unranked (both teams were ranked in each of the seven matchups prior to the current streak). Despite that fact, the Longhorns have won two of the last four meetings. The Sooners have been ranked in the AP poll at the time of the Red River game in each of the last 12 years and in 17 of the last 18 seasons.
Oklahoma has not lost back-to-back regular season games since Oct. 2 and 9, 1999, Bob Stoops' debut season as head coach. OU has won 36 consecutive regular season games following a regular season loss.
After finishing fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2015 and third in 2016, Mayfield is off to his best career start in 2017. In four-and-a-half games (he did not play after halftime against UTEP), Mayfield is 100-for-134 (74.6 percent) through the air with 15 touchdowns and no interceptions. He is averaging 327.0 passing yards per game. Mayfield leads the nation with his 214.1 pass efficiency rating (next best among Power 5 QBs is 186.2) after last year setting the FBS single-season record with a 196.4 mark.
Oklahoma boasts one of the best big-play passing attacks early in 2017. The Sooners have already completed 34 passes of 20-plus yards, good for a nation-leading 6.8 per game. The Sooners are also the only team in the country with two completions (and three plays overall) from scrimmage of at least 80 yards.
Texas enters the Red River Showdown with a 3-2 record and a 2-0 mark in conference play. The Longhorns outlasted Kansas State 40-34 in double overtime Saturday, amassing 546 yards of total offense. UT also limited a potent Kansas State rushing attack to just 140 yards (3.6 per carry).
The Cyclones are under the direction of first-year head coach Tom Herman. Herman came to Austin from the University of Houston, where he compiled a 22-4 record in two seasons. Prior to his time with the Cougars, Herman served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State from 2012-14, and served in the same role at Iowa State from 2009-11.
Texas ranks 35th nationally in scoring offense (35.6 ppg), 33rd in total offense (464.0 ypg), 58th in rushing offense (175.8 ypg) and 29th in passing offense (288.2 ypg). Freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger is a dual threat, averaging 300.0 passing yards and a team-high 55.0 rushing yards per game.
Fourteen Longhorns have made at least one reception this year, including seven of whom have registered seven or more catches. Sophomore Collin Johnson and freshman Reggie Hemphill-Mapps lead the way with 25 receptions each and average 97.0 and 52.2 receving yards per game, respectively. Senior Armanti Foreman has a team-high three TD catches.
After surrendering 51 points in a season-opening loss to Maryland, the Longhorns' defense has allowed just 17.0 points per game over the last four contests. UT ranks 17th nationally in rushing defense (105.2 ypg) and 42nd in total defense (354.2 ypg), and its four defensive touchdowns lead the country. Junior safety DeShon Elliott is tied for the national lead with five interceptions this season and returned one for a TD. Junior defensive back Holton Hill has returned both of his picks for scores.