Preview Thursday: Week 6

Sooner Schooner Oklahoma

Another week of college football is set for Saturday. 

There are four ranked matchups this week, headlined by the Red River Rivalry between No. 12 Oklahoma and No. 3 Texas in Dallas. 

PODCAST: 5 Questions Florida Needs to Answer After Loss to Kentucky

No. 1 Georgia will also look to go 6-0 and clinch bowl eligibility against No. 20 Kentucky, which is riding hot off a Top 25 upset of then-No. 22 Florida thanks to a 280-yard rushing performance by running back Ray Davis. 

Here are several games to watch this Saturday. 

No. 12 Oklahoma at No. 3 Texas  

The Red River Rivalry, in Dallas. 

The biggest stage between some of the biggest programs in all of college football is set to host Oklahoma and Texas at noon on ABC. 

“As far as this game, Red River Rivalry, that’s why we’re in college football, right, to be part be part of games like this,” Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “Two undefeated teams, two top-25 teams. The spotlight of college football will be on us. I think that the beauty for us this will be our third top-25 matchup now in six games, and every team we’ve played has got a winning record and is doing good things. So I think that we’ve been exposed to some high level football now through five weeks and naturally we understand the emotions that will come with this game and different things. I think it’s critical for us that we have a great week of preparation, that we take it one day at a time and then we go in with the mindset to execute on Saturday.” 

The Longhorns have already claimed ranked wins at Alabama and against Kansas, and they’ll have another shot to earn a Top 25 victory once again. 

Both Oklahoma and Texas will meet one more time before the two jump from the Big 12 Conference to the Southeastern Conference beginning next year. 

READ: Big Board: Week 6

The Sooners rank ahead of Texas in total offense, averaging 510 yards per game, and the Longhorns are atop the Big 12 in total defense just ahead of Oklahoma at No. 2. 

The quarterback matchup between Quinn Ewers of Texas and Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel should be a fun one. Both gunslingers have over 1,358 passing yards. 

“Going to be again, a wonderful environment against a really talented, hot Texas team that play on paper and on film they play their best when they’re playing really good people,” Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables said. “Texas has always risen to the occasion and done so but coming off a really good, strong game last week against Kansas where they had almost 700 yards of offense and really were unstoppable. And they’ve been outstanding in all the areas you peel it back whether that’s rush defense or pass defense or scoring defense or red zone defense. If that’s offensively how efficient that they’ve been. They’ve got incredible weapons at the skill position. They lost some great backs last year and they’ve obviously shown they’ve really recruited well. (Jonathon) Brooks is one of a number of their backs that is running really, really well. (Xavier) Worthy, (Adonai) Mitchell, (Ja’Tavion) Sanders, amongst others are just some really incredibly talented players. Ewers was a true freshman last year, played pretty dang good and he’s playing at a really high level. Obviously against Alabama in Tuscaloosa (he) threw for just south of 350 yards and that was the National Player of the Week. So again, we got a great, great challenge. They’re spearheaded on defense by Jaylan Ford who is as good of a linebacker that’s out there in college football, and special teams have been really strong for them. But again, I like where we’re at as well. I want to see where we’re at. If you want to continue to improve and create change, we’re certainly not where we want to be by in any way shape or form, that doesn’t mean that you’re not thankful for your players and your coaches and the hard work that guys have put in and the success that we’ve had you got to celebrate.” 

No. 13 Washington State at UCLA  

Both Washington State and UCLA are coming off bye weeks, and they’ll meet in the Rose Bowl on Saturday. 

Washington State head coach Jake Dickert said he’s familiar with Chip Kelly’s style of offense. Though, Dickert also said he has “not seen a bigger, longer defense” than UCLA’s “in a long time.”

READ: Quotables: Week 5

“These guys are long and have great length and they’re attacking, and they’re playing tremendously on that side of the ball,” Dickert said. “I mean, it is impressive to watch their physicality, the (Laiatu) Latu kid is a problem. Most people have him in the top half of the first round. And then 53 when the Hawaii contingent was here, they used to talk about this kid. He is physical, he is downhill, he is aggressive. So I think they’re playing with supreme confidence on that side of the ball and it’s showing as one of the best defenses in our league so it presents a big challenge, especially up front and how much they want to blitz. 

Washington State has generated the No. 4 total offense in the Pac-12, averaging 533.8 yards per game. 

In the Cougars’ most recent game, their quarterback Cam Ward threw for 404 yards and four touchdowns. 

Offense has helped lead Washington State to its first 4-0 start since 2017, and Dickert expects this one to come down to a defensive battle. 

“They got a great receiver on the outside, and very unique schemes” Dickert said. “I mean, very unique schemes and week to week changes quite a bit, and I think it’s well documented how hard it is to go down in L.A. and win.” 

No. 2 Michigan at Minnesota  

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy has found a rhythm to begin the 2023 season. 

He is No. 5 among passers with a 191.64 passing efficiency rating, and McCarthy is No. 3 behind a 79% completion. 

PODCAST: What we learned coming out of week five

McCarthy’s favorite target is far and away receiver Roman Wilson, who has caught eight of McCarthy’s 10 touchdown passes. 

The Wolverines got out to their 5-0 start without their head coach Jim Harbaugh for the first three games. Since his return in Week 4, Michigan has outscored its two opponents 76-14 allowing two touchdowns. 

Harbaugh said he sees another good defense on the Wolverines’ hands, and the Golden Gophers rank in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten in scoring and total defense. 

“Another really good defense, really stout,” Harbaugh said. “The quarterback has really come along, and they have a tremendous ability to run the ball. Physical team that is going to be, I mean, I love how they play. It’s an emotional, fired up type of team. P.J. (Fleck) does a great job. I mean, you can always tell they’re confident no matter what, no matter what the stakes are, the odds are, you just see it in the way they play. They play hard. It’s all you can ever ask for as a coach from your players is that they play hard. Our guys are doing it. Minnesota’s guys are. It’ll be a football fight like it is every Saturday, and we got to play good.”