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Game Preview: Can OSU Establish Its Run Game Against Texas’ Stifling Defense?

Teams haven’t had much success on the ground against UT this year.



The last time the Cowboys were in Austin, the scoreboard was supposed to get a workout.

Mason Rudolph, James Washington and Marcell Ateman were in their senior seasons, and OSU’s passing attack was scary. But in that game, no one could get into the end zone. With an over/under of 72.5, points are again supposed to come flying in Saturday, but with how weird these games have been, who knows?

The Cowboys and Longhorns will meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Darrell K Royal Stadium. Here is a preview of Saturday’s game, starting with some stats.

Offensive Stats
Oklahoma State Texas
Points Per Game 49.3 43.7
Total Offense 547 497.7
Passing Offense 261.7 349.3
Rushing Offense 285.3 148.3
Defensive Stats
Oklahoma State Texas
Points Allowed Per Game 23.7 24
Total Defense 387.3 417.3
Passing Defense 225.3 330
Rushing Defense 162 87.3
Texas’ Run Defense Gets First Big Test in Chuba Hubbard

Teams haven’t had a whole lot of success running the ball on the Longhorns to this point.

Texas’ first three opponents have ran the ball 86 times for 262 yards. That’s 3.3 yards per carry. It’s probably important to note that Louisiana Tech and Rice aren’t necessarily world beaters, but even LSU only narrowly eclipsed triple digits in rushing yards with 102 on 36 carries.

With that said, the Longhorns haven’t seen Chuba Hubbard. LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire had the most success anyone has had this season running against UT. Edwards-Helaire had 87 yards on 15 carries. Hubbard had 75 yards on his first carry last week.

“They’re fast,” Hubbard said. “They’re physical, really talented. They’re a great team. They swarm the ball. Obviously that LSU game was tough for them, but they still did a great job. It’s great competition. We’re lucky to go up against a team like that.”

Whether OSU can establish it’s run game could be the deciding factor Saturday.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders hasn’t had to win a game with his arm to this point, and Sam Ehlinger has looked much the better passer in his junior season. One would think that if the game was forced into a air battle, it would favor Texas.

The Cowboys’ secondary did have some success against the Texas last season, though. Ehlinger completed only 52 percent of his passes, and star receiver Collin Johnson was targeted 13 times but made only five catches.

Texas coach Tom Herman listed Johnson as probable for Saturday. He sat out the Longhorns’ most recent game against Rice with a hamstring injury.

On the other side, Sanders is going up against a team that ranks 125th in the country in pass defense. Texas will also be without starting safety B.J. Foster who is nursing a hamstring injury.

Sanders hasn’t thrown more than 25 passes in a game in his young career, but depending on whether OSU can get it’s running game going, that could change.

“They’re a very creative team,” Sanders said. “I give that to them. They have a lot of mixed coverages, mixed blitzes. They do just about everything that you could see. It doesn’t bother us. We’re gonna play how we know how to play. We’re gonna execute and do what we know how to do.”

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