Reeling from their loss in Bedlam, the Oklahoma Sooners will need to regroup quickly for this week’s home game against the West Virginia Mountaineers. OU fell to No. 17 in the latest CFP Rankings, but WVU enters the game fresh off a 37-3 drubbing of BYU, and is 6-3 on the season.
Both the Sooners and Mountaineers are part of a five-way tie for second place in the Big 12, and are both hoping to make the championship game at the end of the season. In this article, we’ll explore the best players and key stats to know for when West Virginia has the ball.
The Sooner defense played much better against Oklahoma State than they did compared to the last few games. They did give up 480 yards of offense, but part of that can be attributed to the fact that the Oklahoma offense did not control time of possession well. OU had the ball for just almost 23 minutes, whereas OSU held it for just over 37.
Kip Lewis led the team in tackles last week, collecting 15 total, doing his best Danny Stutsman impression. It is likely that Stutsman returns this week, but Lewis and Kobie McKinzie filled in for him admirably and Sooner coaches and fans should feel optimistic about the future of this linebacking corps.
The real problems for the Sooners against OSU were the secondary and a lack of pass rush. The Oklahoma defensive line didn’t sack Alan Bowman once last Saturday and, while they did a sufficient enough job of containing Ollie Gordon II, only recorded three tackles for loss.
OU has struggled all season with sacking opposing quarterbacks, which has given teams plenty of time to wait for the Sooner secondary to break down. Bowman threw for 334 yards, and he’s not exactly a Heisman Trophy candidate. WVU’s signal caller, Garrett Greene excels at extending plays and running the football, so he and the Mountaineer receivers could be in a position to take advantage of OU’s issues on defense.
Oklahoma’s defensive backs have faced a lot of growing pains and adversity this season, but hopefully, this group will round into form as the season enters its late stages against what can be a potent Mountaineer offense.
Key Player: Billy Bowman
Bowman has made some highlight-reel plays for Oklahoma this season, and it would be nice if he could make a few from his safety position in this game.
West Virginia Offense
This unit is led by their dynamic quarterback, Garrett Greene, who has had some truly impressive games this season. The 5’11” redshirt junior threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Houston, and in the following game passed for 249 yards and two scores, while rushing for 117 yards.
In addition to his dual-threat abilities, he has only thrown two interceptions on the season and has been sacked just four times. OU will have its hands full if the best version of Garrett Greene shows up for this game.
WVU’s leading rusher is CJ Donaldson Jr., who is ninth in the conference with 676 rushing yards and is a bruising back, standing 6’1” and 238 pounds. Jahiem White is his backup, and has a wildly different running style, given his stature: 5’7” and 192 pounds.
The Mountaineer pass catchers aren’t world beaters, but they can make plays if called upon. Sixth-year player, Devin Carter leads the team in receiving with 414 yards. Tight end Kole Taylor and freshman receiver Hudson Clement are also threats: Taylor has scored three touchdowns and Clement has four along with 24.8 average yards per reception.
All told, these Mountaineers average over 31 points per game and rank third in the Big 12 in rushing. However, they are last in passing offense and eighth in offensive efficiency. So, if the Soonrers can stop Greene and the of the rushing attack, they will go along way towards disrupting this WVU offense.
Key Player: Garrett Greene
As Greene goes, so goes this offense, and with his running ability, he could really make this Sooner defense pay.
For the third straight week, the Sooners will be playing a Big 12 team with a winning record that they are favored against. The last two games haven’t gone well, but Sooners fans everywhere are hoping this game will end differently. OU is more talented and is better coached, but the Mountaineers will be throwing everything they have at these free-falling Sooners. Given that, Oklahoma still has the edge when WVU has the ball and should flex their muscles as they try to regain their swagger.
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