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Film Study: Texas’ Running Game is a Major X-Factor against OSU



On Saturday, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will take on a Texas team who has won games by leaning on defense and a strong run game. The Longhorns ran the ball an average of 53 times in each of their three victories. Additionally, UT is 3-0 this season when they outrun their opponent and 0-3 when their opponent outruns them.

The Texas offensive line has had to cope with injuries and inexperience this season and OSU’s defensive line should be able to capitalize. Still, the Cowboys are sixth in the league in rush defense and the Longhorns have a number of competent ball carriers that could make a difference on Saturday.

The Horns have two bruisers in sophomore running back Kyle Porter:

And 250-lb back Chris Warren:

Although Porter is unlikely to play, Warren is just as good (if not better). The junior has 274 rushing yards and five total touchdowns on the season, and he’s one of the bigger backs the Cowboys will see this season.

The Longhorns also use former quarterback Jerrod Heard in a similar role to Tyrone Swoopes’ from last season. Heard is frequently used in short-yardage and red-zone situations as a runner.

But the biggest factor in the Longhorns’ run game is actually none of these players. In fact, it’s the quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, who currently leads the team in both rushing yards and touchdowns. Ehlinger doesn’t get a whole lot of quarterback run calls, but he’s dangerous as a scrambler.

Ehlinger had over 100 yards and one touchdown on the ground last week against Oklahoma, and although he doesn’t necessarily scramble to extend plays, he poses a contain issue to the defenses he faces.

If the Cowboys are able to stop the Horns’ rushing attack, they’ll be able to force a young quarterback into third-and-long situations and force him to win with his arm. But if Texas is able to establish a consistent ground game, they’ll likely follow the blueprint that TCU laid out earlier in the season, focusing on converting at a high level and controlling the clock through four quarters. The Texas run game is the difference between a comfortable victory and a low-scoring (relatively speaking) contest, and the latter is how Texas has been able to compete, and win, even against top-ranked talent.

How do you think OSU’s run defense will perform against the Longhorns? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!


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