Fake Oklahoma Sooners football Jerseys

It’s time for the Tale of the Tape, an article where Horns247 takes a look at the Texas Longhorns and their opponent in a head-to-head breakdown to see which squad, on paper, looks better.

This week, we’re taking a look at how the 11th-ranked Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) stack up against the No. 6-ranked Oklahoma Sooners (5-0, 2-0) heading into Saturday’s AT&T Red River Showdown (11 a.m., FOX). Between last season’s 48-45 victory for the Longhorns at the Cotton Bowl and a 39-27 win for the Sooners in the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium, Saturday’s meeting is the third time the two rivals will have met in a span of 372 days.

Fake Oklahoma Sooners football Jerseys

Tom Herman and Lincoln Riley and are leading their respective teams into the regular-season edition of the rivalry that’s been played 115 times for the third time. Including the game in Arlington, Oklahoma owns a 7-3 record over Texas, but the two sides have split the last six regular-season meetings and the five meetings prior to the Big 12 title game were decided by seven points or less (the longest such stretch in the history of the rivalry).

Who has the edge in this one?

Horns247 breaks down each position battle on paper heading into the game and gives a prediction for a game that’s going to go a long way in determining not only the Big 12 championship picture, but also how the College Football Playoff outlook will unfold.

With a defense that is much better than in the recent past and a Heisman Trophy contender at quarterback, Oklahoma is wiggling their way into the Playoff yet again.

The Sooners’ projected opponent if the season ended today?

Alabama.

The Crimson Tide and Oklahoma are projected to face off in the Fiesta Bowl as the No. 2, No. 3 matchup. Of course the biggest storyline of the season could play a factor into the seeding of both Oklahoma and Alabama. It is pretty obvious that college football wants to see Jalen Hurts get a chance to take on his former team and battle Tua Tagovailoa for a National Championship.

Of course, the only way the committee can ensure a Alabama and Oklahoma play each other is to have them face off in a semifinal game.

The other two teams projected to make the CFP are No. 1 Ohio State and No. 4 LSU.

The initial College Football Playoff rankings will be released in four weeks on Tuesday, November 5.

QUARTERBACK Jalen Hurts (Photo: Icon Sportswire, Getty) When compared to Oklahoma’s four Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (Jason White in 2003, Sam Bradford in 2008, Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018), Jalen Hurts has a higher completion rate (75.2), a higher yards per attempt (14), a better passer rating (231.3), he’s averaging more rushing yards per game (99.8), scored more rushing touchdowns (seven), accumulated more yards of total offense (2,022) and accounted for more touchdowns (21) than any of them through five games. Hurts is a different runner than Murray was for the Sooners last season, but the quarterback run game is more diverse and has more of a power element when Hurts has the ball in his hands.

Sure, Hurts hasn’t faced a defense as talented as the Texas defense he’ll see on Saturday, but his production to this point can’t be disputed in terms of it being impressive. The one thing he doesn’t bring to the table that Murray or Mayfield did (at least he hasn’t needed to show it to this point) are his instincts and ability to anticipate as a passer, even if Hurts is leading the nation in yards per completion (18.6) while ranking No. 1 in total quarterback rating according to ESPN.

Hurts has been impressive, but Sam Ehlinger has been across the field from Mayfield, Murray, Sam Darnold, Drew Lock, Will Grier, Jake Fromm, and Joe Burrow and either beaten them or gone blow for blow with them in a quarterback slugfest. At some point, people will start looking at Ehlinger as one of the nation’s truly elite quarterbacks, especially considering that among the last four quarterbacks to win the Heisman — Mayfield, Murray, Marcus Mariota (2014) and Lamar Jackson (2016) — Ehlinger’s numbers (1,684 yards of total offense, 1,448 passing yards, 236 rushing yards, 20 total touchdowns, 17 passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns — only Mayfield (1,713 yards) and Jackson (2,313 yards) were more prolific through their first five games in terms of total offense; Ehlinger has more passing yards than Mariota did (1,411) and Murray’s total (1,460) tops him by only 12 yards; he’s got the third-most rushing yards, only Jackson (28) and Murray (21) had more passing touchdowns; he’s tied with Murray for the most rushing touchdowns among the group.

With all of the numbers on the table, which quarterback has the edge?

Given how Ehlinger has already shown he can carve up a good defense after throwing for 401 yards, rushing for 60 and accounting for five touchdowns in a turnover-free effort against LSU (the Tigers are No. 28 nationally in SP+ defense; Texas Tech at No. 37 is the best defense Hurts has faced) and that he’s got a track record of playing well in this game (770 total yards, 296 passing yards per game, 89 rushing yards per game, 58.1 percent completion rate and seven total touchdowns in two meetings with the Sooners in the Cotton Bowl) makes him more of a proven commodity in this environment, even though Hurts shouldn’t be taken aback by the atmosphere given the big games he was a part of at Alabama.