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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Red River Shootout: What to Watch

That really old cliche about turnovers has never been more true.

Commit three turnovers versus Kansas State, lose by five. Force three turnovers versus Texas Tech, win by 21.

Last year, OU won the turnover battle, 5-1, with OU's lone giveaway occurring in scrub time late in the fourth quarter.

So there's that, but here are some other things to watch for.

1. The Third Receiver

Last year, Jaz Reynolds had a big game as the third OU wideout. UT tried to bracket Ryan Broyles on third down, and it worked to a degree, but Landry Jones found Kenny Stills and Reynolds over and over, especially on third down.

Now, Stills will get the Broyles treatment. Justin Brown has flashed big time promise so far, but OU does not have an established third WR yet. There are a lot of candidates. If Sterling Shepard or Trey Metoyer or or even Jalen Saunders make big plays, UT is in trouble.

2. Playing One-on-One

Can the vastly improved OU secondary survive in one-on-one coverage, allowing Mike Stoops to run blitz the 'Horns out of their run-first game plan?

OU is going to be the best defense by a wide margin that UT has faced, especially in the secondary. David Ash is in for a huge test. Ask Seth Doege if OU's D is improved. Doege torched OU for four bills and 41 points last year; he barely got to 200 yards and 13 points this year.

3. Kickoffs

A big weapon for UT this year has been the kickoff return game. It led to a TD in Stillwater and kept giving the Longhorns great field position versus WVU, with Marquise Goodwin having three huge returns.

OU so far has done a good job on covering kickoffs, limiting opponents to 20 yards a return while Patrick O'Hara is getting a touchback on every other kickoff. UT's returned kickoffs for TDs in this game recently.

On the flip side, UT's coverage squads are struggling. They allowed for running lanes on kickoff returns for both WVU and OSU.

Jalen Saunders perhaps makes an early  impact in the kicking game?

4. Placekicking

If it comes down to a field-goal contest, OU appears to be in much better shape with Michael Hunnicutt. Hunnicutt's only miss was the botched placement by Tress Way in the UTEP game. Meanwhile, UT has Penn State transfer Anthony Fera kicking for them, and he missed a critical kick last week.

5. Run D

Both teams have had issues on the defensive line with stopping the run. OU's defensive ends have struggled stopping the shotgun run game when teams spread OU out. UT's vaunted defensive end duo of Alex Okafor and Jackson Jeffcoat have been shredded for 200 yards by running backs in consecutive weeks. OU has a big time
weapon in Damien Williams, and UT has similar weapons in Jonathan Gray and Joe Bergeron. Whichever RB has the best game could easily determine your winning team.