Four questions facing Texas on Saturday against Oklahoma:
1. Can Texas keep OU from the quarterback?
Texas has opened its last three games with a different combination of players on the offensive line. Last week UT went with tackles Denzel Okafor and Derek Kerstetter, guards Patrick Vahe and Jake McMillon and center Terrell Cuney. The line was penalized only twice and Sam Ehlinger threw it 50 times without getting sacked. (The freshman quarterback escaped a few sacks with his feet). Texas, however, still ranks 92nd nationally in sacks allowed (2.4 per game), and Oklahoma has taken down 12 quarterbacks.
2. Will Reggie Hemphill-Mapps stay hot?
Hemphill-Mapps had 12 catches for 121 yards in last week’s 40-34 win over Kansas State, and the redshirt freshman recorded all of those catches in regulation, not the overtimes. He also had a seven-catch game against Maryland. But he had quiet games against San Jose State (three catches), USC (two) and Iowa State (one). Oklahoma is allowing 232.4 passing yards per game, so will he continue to be the cream of the crop among UT’s talented receivers?
3. Will any running back stand out?
Or, does Texas opt to keep its backfield in a three-man rotation or turn the running game into a one-man show? Are you tired of this question yet? Through five games, neither Chris Warren III, Kyle Porter nor Toneil Carter have separated themselves on the depth chart. Oh, and Tom Herman said this week that the coaches have been “pulling our hair out” trying to find playing time for freshman Daniel Young. For the year, Porter leads the team in carries (53), but Warren is the leading rusher (270 yards). Carter, meanwhile, is averaging 6.4 yards per carry compared to Warren’s 5.5 and Porter’s 2.9.
4. Will Texas be able to limit Oklahoma’s home runs on offense?
Dede Westbrook won’t be at the Cotton Bowl so Texas fans won’t see any on-field replays of last year’s 42-, 47- and 71-yard scores. Oklahoma, though, hasn’t been lacking for highlights without Westbrook. The Sooners have gained at least 40 yards on 12 different plays this season, and Baker Mayfield has tossed 82-, 52- and 48-yard touchdown passes. Texas has given up fewer big plays since a season-opening loss to Maryland, but Kansas State’s Dalton Schoen torched the UT secondary with an 82-yard reception last week.
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