Stoops, Sooners head to Morgantown to meet West Virginia

Bob Stoops looks for win No. 4 on Saturday.

Matthew Emmons USA TODAY Sports

 

1. Start Fast: OU has outscored the opposition 55-0 in the first quarter of their first three games. By starting fast in Morgantown, the Sooners have a shot to take what will be a hostile, emotionally invested crowd out of the game. 

2. Third Down: The Sooners are only converting 38 percent of their their down attempts and that makes it hard to get the job done on the road for a Saturday night, Big 12 Conference game against a team that believes that they can nail the upset. Converting more third downs will keep WVU from running 108 offensive plays like they did last week while beating Maryland.

3. A Garaged Ford: OU’s most impressive running back of the three that have been playing, Keith Ford, has a broken leg and is listed “week to week,” which, in itself, sounds strange. Luckily Coach Cale Gundy’s cupboard isn’t bare. Jenks’ Alex Ross and true freshman strongman Samaje Perine, 5-11 243, must protect the pigskin and move the chains. Coach Bill Bedenbaugh returns to WVU from where he was hired from which one would hope that will motivate his massive, offensive line unit to add a little extra sauce to their game Saturday night (FOX, 6:30). 

4. QB Clint Trickett: The senior transfer from FSU who saw action against OU in Tallahassee a few years back when EJ Manuel was sidelined has been hotter than a fox in a forest fire. Last week Trickett threw for 511 yards, completed 75 percent of his 49 passes, including four for touchdowns. Mike Stoops defense has to make it $2 steak tough on the Mountaineer signal caller or there won’t be enough apple cobbler moonshine in West Virginia to make this a fun trip. Trickett has hefty 1,224 yards passing and that includes opening the season vs. Alabama where WVU lost by 33-23. Trickett the son of the FSU O-Line coach won’t be easily rattled. 

5. Zach Sanchez & Julian Wilson: The Sooners starting two corner backs will be tested early, often and in a variety of ways thank to the offensive genius of HBC Dana Holgorsen. WVU wide receiver Kevin White is NFL bound and ranks 2nd in the nation with 32 catches for 460 yards. Can a banged up Sanchez handle the 6-3, 210 pound White? That’s a key story line. 

The Sooners secondary especially the safeties  must limit the Mountaineer receivers ‘chunk yards’ and focus on tackling better than they have all year. Big plays by the Mountaineer offensive will give the home team hope in upsetting OU and thus throwing a wrench into the Sooners Final Four plans in January. Other than not committing turnovers, the Sooner defense squeezing three and out’s from WVU is a critical stat.   

6. Trevor Knight: The sophomore team captain is a great leader and he demonstrates that frequently on the OU sideline. Knight is more vocal and motivational in that respect that we’ve seen from an OU QB in many years. But Trevor has not looked sharp passing the ball even though he’s been “this close” to having multiple great games throwing the ball. Saturday night would be a great night for the Sophomore making only his 8th start to find his rhythm. Trevor’s legs may have to be utilized more especially in the roll out, play action passing game if WVU loads the box to stop the Oklahoma running attack.

7. Honey’s Money: No Sooner fan should take Senior kicker Michael Hunnicutt for granted. These are the types of games where the kicking game and special teams play have to step up and prevent big plays and hopefully make some. “Honey” is reliable, accurate and an unsung weapon for OU. Coach Jay Boulware’s ‘jets’ are covering kicks and preventing big plays which are huge on the road on these Saturday night games that are often times unsettling.

OU barely escaped the last time it traveled to Morgantown, again on a Saturday night, national TV game so any one who thinks this one will be easy is refusing to take off their crimson colored glasses. The Sooners shooting themselves in the feet with non contact penalties and turning the ball over can make a ‘potentially’ great team, which OU is, to looking very average. Flying to the geographically illogical West Virginia from OKC and spending all day at the Morgantown team hotel isn’t an ideal scenario. 

Footnote … Yours truly will be a guest on the FOX Sports pregame show from Morgantown that airs from 6:30 to 7:30 pm ET, prior to the Game of the Week. 

Prediction: Oklahoma 38 WVU 28

Boomer Sooner!

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Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.