Former Lake Travis standout Baker Mayfield, now a team captain at Oklahoma, throws a pass against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 17, 2016 in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Football

Texas vs. Oklahoma: Five key matchups

Posted October 8th, 2016

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Here are five key matchups to watch Saturday:

 

Quarterback Baker Mayfield of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates a touchdown against the Akron Zips on Sept. 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Quarterback Baker Mayfield of the Oklahoma Sooners celebrates a touchdown against the Akron Zips on Sept. 5, 2015 at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. Oklahoma defeated Akron 41-3.(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield vs. Texas’ Breckyn Hager

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This might be the best individual matchup within the game — or at least one that offers local bragging rights. Mayfield, the former Lake Travis star, is now a team captain with the Sooners and ranks first in school history in career completion percentage (.680). Hager, who was a terror at Westlake at the time Mayfield was at Lake Travis, is tied for second on the team with 23 tackles and has two sacks. Hager was so upset after last week’s loss to Oklahoma State, he was practically shaking. The sophomore defensive end said he didn’t punch anything, but Hager is ready to unleash some frustrations. The Longhorns sacked Mayfield six times last year, causing him to get happy feet at times. Hager, who was injured at the time, had to watch it all from the sideline. He even refused to touch the Golden Hat trophy last year after UT’s upset win.

EDGE: Even

 

Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook (11) warms up prior to the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Oklahoma receiver Dede Westbrook (11) warms up prior to the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at Sun Life Stadium on December 31, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

OU’s Dede Westbrook vs. Texas’ secondary

Texas spent an entire week preparing for Cal’s Chad Hansen. Everyone knew he was the Golden Bears’ primary target. He still had 12 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns. The Horns knew Oklahoma State’s James Washington was a deep threat, and yet he eluded multiple would-be tacklers en route to a 54-yard score. Suffice to say, the Horns got burned by players they knew could burn them. Westbrook is OU’s leading receiver and had seven catches for a career-high 158 yards and two touchdowns against TCU last week. He’s going to get the ball. And if it’s not Westbrook, watch out for Mark Andrews, who has 11 touchdowns on only 30 career catches. For Texas, Holton Hill is expected back in the lineup and Jason Hall may have regained his starting spot.

EDGE: Oklahoma

 

Shane Buechele (7) of the Texas Longhorns drops back to pass against the UTEP Miners during the first half on September 10, 2016 at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Shane Buechele (7) of the Texas Longhorns drops back to pass against the UTEP Miners during the first half on September 10, 2016 at Royal Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Texas’ Shane Buechele vs. OU’s injury-plagued defense

This will be an emotional day for the Buechele family. Shane Buechele’s family is full of dyed-in-the-wool Sooners, and he broke ranks to play for the rival Longhorns. Gladly, he adds. Buechele is 41 passing yards away from becoming only the second true freshman in UT history to throw for 1,000 yards. David Ash is the only other one who’s done it, throwing for 1,079 yards in 2011. Fortunately for Texas, the Sooners have lost some key defenders, including talented defensive end Charles Walker, who’s out with a concussion. Linebacker Tay Evans was forced to retire after multiple head injuries, and linebacker Will Johnson (undisclosed injury) is out as well. Believe it or not, OU’s secondary has been just as bad as Texas’. The Sooners allow 298.5 passing yards per game and have given up 13 passing touchdowns.

EDGE: Texas

 

Texas running back D'Onta Foreman runs in for a touchdown ahead of OSU's Jordan Burton during the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Ok., on Saturday, October 01, 2016. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN
Texas running back D’Onta Foreman runs in for a touchdown ahead of OSU’s Jordan Burton during the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., on Saturday, October 1, 2016. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine vs. Texas’ D’Onta Foreman

We could spend hours discussing Samaje Perine’s dynamite impact on the OU program. He’s already established himself as a star in the annals of OU history. Perine, who was not offered a scholarship by Texas despite growing up in up-the-road Pflugerville, ranks eighth in OU history with 3,309 career yards and is 809 yards away from Billy Sims’ school record. On the other side, Foreman is driven by the fact that OU wouldn’t offer him a scholarship though they did offer his brother, Armanti. He ran angry in this game last season, especially on an 81-yard romp en route to a 117-yard day. But on Saturday, Foreman won’t have Chris Warren III, who’s out with a knee injury. Foreman can’t afford to take unnecessary health risks just to prove a point. He’ll be backed up by freshman Kyle Porter and redshirt freshman Tristan Houston.

EDGE: Oklahoma

 

Texas coach Charlie Strong reacts during the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Royal-Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Texas coach Charlie Strong reacts during the first half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Royal-Memorial Stadium on September 4, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

OU play-caller Lincoln Riley vs. Texas “defensive coordinator” Charlie Strong

This is a critical moment for Strong, in his third year. The Longhorns must show up prepared, organized and motivated. But Strong has now taken on extra duties as Texas’ defensive play-caller, having demoted defensive coordinator Vance Bedford. Strong hasn’t called defensive plays for an entire game since 2009, when he was Florida’s defensive coordinator. “You have to establish a rhythm,” Strong said of defensive play-calling. Expect some rust. Riley has the clear advantage here on paper. He joined OU’s staff last season, and the Sooners are averaging 39.5 points per game. Still, Strong has the element of surprise on his side. The Longhorns are bound to show some new wrinkles. The players will be energized because their head coach is taking such an active role. Strong is coaching for his job, too.

EDGE: Texas

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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