DALLAS — A unit-by-unit look at who has the edge inside the Cotton Bowl in Saturday's Red River Rivalry game:
Oklahoma junior Blake Bell played his worst game as the starting quarterback last weekend against TCU, but still didn't turn the ball over and helped run the clock out with a couple of strong runs in the fourth quarter. Texas' defense has been horrible against running quarterbacks this year. Case McCoy wasn't terrible against Iowa State last week, but OU still has the edge here.
Oklahoma's Brennan Clay, Damien Williams and Roy Finch have all shown the ability to make plays this season, and true freshman Keith Ford and fullback Trey Millard are also capable of big things in their rare opportunities. Texas' Johnathan Gray is a good player, but the Sooners' committee gives them the nod.
Texas' Mike Davis, Jaxon Shipley and Kendall Sanders have all recorded over 200 yards receiving so far this season. Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders have been the Sooners' most productive receivers so far, with guys like Lacoltan Bester, Durron Neal and Jaz Reynolds contributing in spurts. Both units are solid, but the Longhorns' receivers have a slight edge.
Oklahoma's offensive line struggled some against TCU last weekend, but the Horned Frogs' defense is a strong unit. The Sooners average more rushing yards per game and have allowed fewer sacks this season than Texas.
Texas has recorded more sacks this year than Oklahoma, but the Sooners' defensive line is still vastly improved from last season. The Longhorns' defense is allowing close to 30 points and 250 rushing yards per game.
Both teams have lost their best linebackers for the season. Texas' Jordan Hicks ruptured his right Achilles a few weeks ago against Kansas State, and Oklahoma's Corey Nelson was lost after a partially torn pectoral muscle last week against TCU. The Sooners' other linebackers have been solid this year, though, on a defense allowing only 13 points per game.
Oklahoma is allowing about 168 passing yards per game, while Texas is giving up 217. The Longhorns' main defensive issues have come against the run, but the Sooners still get the nod here.
Oklahoma has been better on field goals, punt returns and kickoffs, while the Longhorns hold a slight edge in punting and kick returns. The Longhorns allowed one punt return for a touchdown, though, giving the Sooners a slight special-teams edge.
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is 9-5 in his 14 meetings with Mack Brown and the Longhorns. Four of those OU victories have been blowouts — including the last two meetings — and there's plenty of reasons to believe a fifth might be imminent.