Oklahoma State Cowboys mascot Pistol Pete looks on during the game against the TCU Horned Frogs November 7, 2015 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys defeated the Horned Frogs 49-29. (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Football

Texas vs. Oklahoma State: Four questions facing the Horns

Posted September 30th, 2016

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Four questions facing No. 22 Texas in Saturday’s game at Oklahoma State:

Texas coach Charlie Strong, left, talks to defensive coordinator Vance Bedford in the first quarter against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas coach Charlie Strong, left, talks to defensive coordinator Vance Bedford in the first quarter against Notre Dame at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Sunday September 4, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

1. So, how will the defense look?

The bye week came at a good time for Texas’ defense, which was reeling after it surrendered 50 points in a road loss to Cal. Ranked 107th in the nation in points allowed (34.7 per game) and 66th in yards allowed (386.3), the Longhorns and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford have had 14 days to make much-needed adjustments. Oklahoma State can throw (340.0 yards per game) and run (126.8 yards per game), so Texas will be immediately tested following its break.

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Texas offensive lineman Kent Perkins takes a breather from practice drills. The Texas Longhorn football team held an open practice and fan appreciation day at Darrel K. Royal memorial Stadium Sunday August 9, 2015. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Texas offensive lineman Kent Perkins takes a breather from practice drills. The Texas Longhorn football team held an open practice and fan appreciation day at Darrel K. Royal memorial Stadium Sunday August 9, 2015.
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2. How will the offensive line fare without Kent Perkins?

Senior right guard Kent Perkins, whose 26 career starts is the most on the roster, is suspended for the Oklahoma State game following his arrest last weekend on DWI charges. Texas has been rushing for 238.3 yards per game and will have to reconfigure its front line. Alex Anderson, a sophomore, started for Perkins against UTEP when the senior was held out with an injury and third-stringer Jake McMillon has appeared in all three games.

Texas wide receiver Armanti Foreman celebrates a touchdown against Notre Dame during a NCAA football game at Darrell K. Royal?Texas Memorial Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)
Texas wide receiver Armanti Foreman celebrates a touchdown against Notre Dame during a NCAA football game at Darrell K. Royal?Texas Memorial Stadium, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. (Stephen Spillman / for American Statesman)

3. Will a wide receiver stand out?

So far, Texas has spread the wealth when it comes to distributing passes; the Longhorns’ top five pass-catchers — Jacorey Warrick, John Burt, Jerrod Heard, Armanti Foreman and Jake Oliver — have between nine and 13 catches. Warrick (tied for 111th) and Burt (tied for 196th) are Texas’ highest-ranked players in the country in regards to receptions and receiving yards. Oklahoma State, meanwhile, has the second-worst pass defense in the Big 12, allowing 274.5 yards per game. Will one of those receivers have a breakout game?

Sterlin Gilbert stand on the sidelines and watches the team during pregame warmups before the Longhorn's game against UTEP Saturday September 10, 2016 in Austin. Rodolfo Gonzalez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Sterlin Gilbert stand on the sidelines and watches the team during pregame warmups before the Longhorn’s game against UTEP Saturday September 10, 2016 in Austin. Rodolfo Gonzalez/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

4. How will Texas fare on third downs?

Texas’ offense ranks among the nation’s best in some statistical categories, but third-down conversions is not one of them. In fact, 64 teams are posting better numbers than the Longhorns’ 40.0-percent success rate on third down. What Texas does on third down will be critical Saturday night; besides helping produce more points, extending drives will give a much-maligned defense some additional time on the sidelines.

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