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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

OU-Texas: Get the Ground Game Going, Get the Win

To borrow from a different sport, the reality in Red River Shootout games lately has been that the Sooners and Longhorns throw for show and run for dough.

The prodigious passing of quarterbacks Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy grab all the headlines. Yet, if recent history is any indication, the team that runs the ball more effectively will be wearing the Golden Hat come Saturday afternoon.

Since 2004, the team that has averaged more yards per carry has come away victorious. Oftentimes, the winner has outgained the loser on a per-attempt basis by a significant margin, usually by about two yards.

Rushing Yards in Red River Shootout (Total, Average Per Carry)
Year Oklahoma Texas
2004 301, 5.79 154, 3.85
2005 77, 2.33 203, 5.08
2006 124, 3.44 124, 3.88
2007 170, 4.15 61, 2.10
2008 48, 1.85 161, 4.60

What does this mean for this year's game? As close as these two teams look on paper, it should surprise no one that there's little difference in how the two teams run the ball: OU is averaging 4.43 yards per attempt, Texas is gaining 4.53 yards per rush.

Neither team has an edge in stopping the run, either. Texas has allowed 1.58 yards per rush; OU is giving up 1.79.

However, with the Longhorns' top two running backs possibly on the shelf this weekend, the Sooners may have an advantage when it comes to establishing the run.