All-time, Texas still holds the burnt orange shadow over Dallas, Texas at the Cotton Bowl, with an overall record of 62-48-5 against the Oklahoma Sooners. However, since 2000 the Texas Longhorns are a measly 7-13 against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Cotton Bowl, while also being outscored in those games 654 to 492. Texas has scored 162 less points against the Sooners in The Red River Showdown. Tradition of excellence? Hard to say, and the numbers make it hard to see. Sure, the Longhorns have the Sooners by 14 games overall, but recent history kind of negates the fact, or at least it should.
Why is this year any different?
These two teams have done a fairly good job at keeping it’s fan bases on the edge of their seat. Over the past five years they’ve played it close enough to go either way. Neither team has won by more than seven points in the last five Red River Showdowns.
However, Sam Ehlinger is now the veteran quarterback leading the charge in the Big 12. 2017 was his freshman year in a shootout against Heisman trophy winner, Baker Mayfield. Then, in 2018, he drove his Longhorns team down the field, to set up a victory off the leg of Dicker the kicker. That game, was against Heisman trophy winner, Kyler Murray. Fast forward to 2019, another shootout against a very seasoned winner in Jalen Hurts. In which, Sam threw for zero touchdowns and they still only lost by seven.
Now it’s 2020, and Sam Ehlinger has thrown 69-109, a 63.3% completion rate, while throwing for 14 touchdowns and a mere 2 interceptions. His enemy, Spencer Rattler, young and inexperienced, has thrown 69-94, a 73.4% completion rate, 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The stage might be too big for this freshman, however, the 25% attendance policy may help him out. Especially, with just a little over 23,000 in attendance and only 12,500 are Texas fans. That’s a lucky dice roll for the redshirt freshman, to play in front of such a small capacity of fans, during one of the biggest rivalry games they have.
The edge must go to the more experienced Sam Ehlinger, but remember, Texas does hold the FBS record of losses against an unranked opponent, while holding an AP Top 25 rank. This game can always be a 50/50, why we wouldn’t want it any other way. It is, after all, The Red River Showdown, the battle for the Golden Hat, and it’s time it’s brought back to Texas again.
This may be another high penalty affair, one that feels like a six-hour football game between two rivals that play sloppy football. Neither team has show much discipline throughout the first few weeks of their respective season. Both have lost to teams that had no business beating them in the first place. Now, they face each other, both needing the momentum of a huge win. What kind of win is bigger than a rivalry game? We’ll have to wait and see.