When it comes to the Red River Showdown, any slight edge can prove significant.
As part of a bitter rivalry between a pair of historical powers, the sheer talent discrepancy is rarely too large, but of course, in a game of this magnitude each season, experience is quite literally a game-changer.
More specifically, experience at the quarterback position, providing reason for optimism surrounding the Sooners chances on Saturday.
As John Hoover of Sporting News and The Franchise noted, since 1990, 15 quarterbacks have made their first Red River Showdown start against a more proven passer and not surprisingly, the results haven’t been favorable for the fresh faces. In such meetings, the more experienced gunslingers have guided their teams to a 12-2-1 record, with the lone two losses coming at the hands of Sooners — Justin Fuente in 1996 and Sam Bradford in 2007, who led Oklahoma past James Brown and Colt McCoy, respectively.
This time around, if Texas freshman signal-caller Sam Ehlinger gets the starting nod as expected, he’ll be matched against a far more experienced Baker Mayfield. As history has shown for nearly the past two decades, that edge in experience department should be enough to secure a victory, just as it was during last season’s edition, in which Mayfield and the Sooners outlasted Shane Buechele and Texas, 45-40.
Of course, if Buechele returns from injury and leads the first-team offense, this historical stat goes out the window, but there’s plenty of reason to believe that won’t be the case after Ehlinger torched Kansas State to the tune of 487 total yards.
The Sooners are currently 7.5-point favorites over their rivals from across the Red River. Don’t be surprised if a more experienced Mayfield proves to be the difference down the stretch in a one-score game.
Oklahoma and Texas will take the field at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.
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