3 Red River Preview Takeaways: Unknowns Abound Ahead Of 118th Meeting Of OU-Texas


Friday, October 7th 2022, 2:29 pm

By: Nate Kotisso


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Does the name L. Theodore Bellmont ring any bells to you? He just might be the most influential figure in the history of the OU-Texas rivalry.

Bellmont was responsible for several things, good and bad. It was Bellmont’s bright idea, while working as Texas’ athletic director in 1914, to gather the largest schools in the region to form a new collegiate athletic conference.

The league – which counted Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) among its original members – was dubbed the “Southwest Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.” It was later shortened to simply “Southwest Conference.”

Even in those days, every team in every league didn’t play every year, so it was common for a year or two to go by before it would be time for some opponents to face off again.

However, when Oklahoma and Oklahoma A&M left the SWC in 1925, that seemed to spell the end for OU-Texas. UT and OU moved on, scheduling other opponents in their different leagues.

Related: Red River…Really? A Look At 7 Odd Meetings Between Oklahoma And Texas

In the interim, Bellmont inked agreements to face Vanderbilt for Texas’ early-to-mid October annual date during the State Fair of Texas.

Eventually, beginning with the 1929 season, Bellmont decided to make the right decision. Texas and Oklahoma agreed to resume playing each other in football in Dallas for the next 10 years.

But why did Bellmont have a sudden change of heart when it came to playing OU?

“We couldn’t get anybody else,” Bellmont said, according to the Texas Legacy Sports Network.

Both teams have made their yearly trek to Dallas ever since.


First Takeaway: Knock Knock, Who’s There?

Me? Maybe you? How much eligibility do you have left on you?

The Oklahoma Sooners, as of this writing, could be without some key pieces in this year’s matchup with Texas. Or they might not be. No one outside the program seems to know.

Dillon Gabriel, Billy Bowman, Eric Gray, Anton Morrison, Wanya Morris, Damond Harmon and Theo Wease, Jr. are some players who missed time on the field last Saturday at TCU.

Herein lies the difficulty of just how good the Sooners could be in a must-win game like Saturday. If Gabriel is back to feeling himself, what if Gray can’t dress? Can Jovantae Barnes build on his first 100-yard rushing game? Will Marcus Major be back to take some pressure off Barnes?

What if there’s some shuffling that needs to happen on the offensive line? We’ve seen how much influence they can have on the natural flow of the Sooners offense in recent years.

As the headline for this story reads, unknowns abound.


Second Takeaway: Play To ‘Quinn’ The Game

The Longhorns will reportedly have Quinn Ewers back in the saddle for OU-Texas.

He showed flashes of brilliance for a quarter of their last-minute loss to Alabama, but even if Ewers isn’t feeling all the way back, head coach Steve Sarkisian has a solid alternative.

Hudson Card, a sophomore who played high school ball for Austin Lake Travis, is playing the best football of his career. Card has started the last three games for Texas, going 2-1, with the lone loss coming in a 37-34 overtime decision at Texas Tech.

Over those three games, Card is completing 70 percent of his 80 total passes for 741 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception.

The right move would be for Ewers, if he’s back to being himself, to start over Card.

The danger for an Oklahoma defense that has allowed more than 500 yards of offense versus K-State and more than 600 yards versus TCU in consecutive weeks means that either Ewers or Card could cut through the Sooners like a Thanksgiving turkey.


Third Takeaway: Will History Repeat Itself?

Two seasons ago, Oklahoma entered Red River Rivalry weekend in familiar territory to this weekend.

The Sooners had back-to-back Big 12 losses and an Alex Grinch defense that was getting on everybody’s nerves. Somehow, they fought back to win six in a row, win the Big 12 crown and thrash Florida in the Cotton Bowl Classic.

Can OU pull off another Houdini-like trick? It might not be in the cards for the Sooners.

Those K-State and ISU losses in 2020, while bad, were much closer. They were one-score games that came down the game’s final moments. The 2022 K-State loss was a two-score game late, and we all know how far ahead TCU was in the first quarter last week.

Add in a competent Kansas, a dangerous Kansas State team, a well-rounded Oklahoma State squad and a Texas club that could take off with Ewers back, 2022 could be a rough one in Norman.

But we’ll have to see how things go on Saturday first.

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